New bill aims to outlaw gay 'conversion therapy' in Ireland

Some 21 Senators have co-signed the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill

New bill aims to outlaw gay 'conversion therapy' in Ireland

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Legislation has been launched which aims to prohibit conversion therapy in Ireland.

Senator Fintan Warfield says the legislation "aims to prohibit conversion therapy, as a deceptive and harmful act or practice against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression."

To date, 21 Senators have co-signed the bill.

These range from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, the Green Party and Independents.

Senator Warfield, who is Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI rights, says: "I am hopeful that the cross-party support we have received for this bill will ensure its passage through the Oireachtas."

"Additionally, it will make removing a person from the State for the purposes of conversion therapy an offence.

"The practice of conversion therapy has been condemned and discredited worldwide by institutions such as the UN Committee Against Torture, the European Parliament and by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.

"We have been aware that conversion therapy has been ongoing within the state for some time."

"Deeply harmful"

The National LGBT Federation (NXF) has welcomed the new bill.

In a statement, the group says: "This so-called 'therapy', which has been condemned by all reputable health organisations, is not only ineffective but deeply harmful to LGBT individuals subjected to such 'treatment'.

"It is rooted in homophobic assumptions and ideologies and has no place in any civilised society.

"A legislative ban is required to bring the practice to an end here in Ireland and to criminalise those who would take others out of the State for the purposes of undergoing 'conversion therapy'."

Caroline Keane, director of the National LGBT Federation, says: "We commend Senator Warfield for bringing forward this important and necessary legislation.

"So-called gay 'conversion therapy' is an abhorrent practice which preys on vulnerable LGBT people who require support and reassurance - not to be told that they are broken and in need of being 'fixed'".

The NXF has also called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to make clear during his meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence that Ireland "abhors gay 'conversion therapy' and is also deeply concerned at attempts by the Trump-Pence administration to attack and erode LGBT rights in the US."

Read the full bill here