Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
France has introduced a ban on conversion therapy, becoming the latest country to outlaw the debunked and abhorrent practice, which seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The country's MPs voted on Tuesday (14 December) to make it illegal days after Canada passed a similar ban. Here in the UK, a ban was promised over three years ago by then Prime Minister, Theresa May.
A consultation was announced by the current government earlier this year and has recently been extended to February.
"Very happy with this agreement"
According to the ban, in France, a person could be jailed for up to two years and fined 30,000 euros ($33,810) if they are found to be practicing conversion therapy. Perpetrators will face tougher sentences if under-18s or vulnerable adults are involved.
The French Equalities Minister, Elisabeth Moreno tweeted that she was, "Very happy with this agreement," and that "being yourself is not a crime."
— Élisabeth Moreno (@1ElisaMoreno) December 14, 2021
LGBTQ activists and human rights groups celebrated the news over social media. It has also led to renewed criticism of the UK government's slow action to introduce a similar ban here.
Last week, an extension to a consultation on a conversion therapy ban was extended, giving people until 4 February 2022 to share their opinions and views.
The Campaign to Ban Conversion Therapy Group tweeted on Wednesday (15 December): "No years of delay. No endless debates. No consultations. No loopholes. No allowances for transphobes and homophobes.
"Just action to end abuse against LGBTQIA+ people. France showing leadership while the UK lags behind."
No years of delay. No endless debates. No consultations. No loopholes. No allowances for transphobes and homophobes.— BanConversionTherapy (@BanCTorg) December 15, 2021
Just action to end abuse against LGBTQIA+ people. France showing leadership while the UK lags behind.#rienàguérir #BanConversionTherapy @trussliz @MinFreerHMG https://t.co/MaRZ6UgUk2
Reuters reports that Brazil, Ecuador, Malta, Albania, and Germany have also passed legislation that has either partially or fully outlawed the practice. Meanwhile, 11 other countries, including New Zealand, Mexico, and Spain are looking to introduce legislation.