“Reversion attempts” on homosexuals to be banned

It is the central phrase that keeps coming up in this context: "you can’t cure what isn’t a disease."So-called conversion therapies, which have the goal of "converting" or "curing" homosexuals, bi-sexuals or transsexuals, are to be banned in the future – at least in part.

After months of deliberation, the federal government introduced a law to this effect this wednesday. The lesbian and gay association (LSVD) welcomed this, but still sees gaps in the law.

"I don’t think much of these therapies, if only because of my own being gay. I always say the good lord must have thought of something."This is how health minister jens spahn (CDU) made the first statement in the "taz" newspaper at the beginning of the year. His bill, which the federal government has now introduced, provides for hefty bub fines and up to one-year prison sentences for providers of such methods.

Parents or guardians can also be prosecuted under certain circumstances, but only if they have committed a "gross violation of their duty of care and education. This is criticized by grunen and LSVD. This passage makes it possible for parents and legal guardians to continue to carry out pseudotherapies without consequences, said the green member of parliament ulle schauws. The greens want to tighten up the draft law during its discussion in the bundestag.

The federal ministry of health is aiming for the ban to come into force by the middle of next year. In the federal council, no approval is necessary, it was said.

According to the federal foundation magnus hirschfeld, named after the sexual scientist and co-founder of the world’s first homosexual movement, the controversial "healing attempts" are still used on thousands of affected people every year in germany. This ranges from "therapies" in the family environment and sessions with coaches or therapists, to prayers and even exorcism of damons. According to the german chamber of psychotherapists (bptk), those affected often develop depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, turn to drugs and have an increased risk of suicide as a result of such methods.

One supports therefore emphatically the bill of the federal government, it is an important socio-political signal, communicated the bptk on wednesday. "Homosexuality and transsexuality are not diseases or disorders."

Spahn’s draft law now provides for the following: conversion therapies are to be generally prohibited for those under 18 years of age. But even if those affected are already of age and have been induced into such "treatment", for example through coercion, threats or barter, or have not been informed about the "harmfulness of the treatment", there should in future be penalties for the providers. The prohibition also includes the advertising of such "therapies" or the referral to corresponding "therapists". The plans were once again tightened. Originally, a general ban was planned only up to the age of 16 years.

Conversion therapies often cause severe physical and mental suffering, spahn said on wednesday. "This alleged therapy makes you sick and not healthy.A ban is also an important social sign to all those who struggle with their homosexuality: "it’s okay the way you are"."

According to surveys, between 4 and 7 percent of the population say they are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transsexual. According to the LSVD, there has been progress in legal recognition and social acceptance over the past few years. "However, even today, several years pass between the first awareness – the inner coming-out – and the first public coming-out to friends or parents, because discrimination and negative reactions are feared," said LSVD spokesman markus ulrich to the german press agency. At the same time, he warned that an aggressive and misanthropic climate was becoming socially acceptable again.

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