Greece is now the latest country to ban conversion therapy.
On Wednesday, the country’s parliament approved a bill that would ban the practice in LGBTQ+ minors, Reuters reports. The bill also requires that a person provides “explicit consent” to medical professionals should they wish to undergo the therapy willingly. Practitioners who perform conversion therapy on minors, or without a person’s consent, could face a possible prison sentence.
Greece joins a growing list of countries that have banned conversion therapy, a practice used with the intent to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been widely debunked by the scientific community.
“There were some false treatments that stated that when a minor has chosen a different sexual orientation, his parents could supposedly proceed with ‘treatments’ for this child, to ‘return to normality,’” said Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris in a statement to the country’s parliament (as reported by Reuters).
He added, “Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy but they are not supported scientifically.”
Greece, a conservative country, has had a mixed record with regards to LGBTQ+ rights. In January, the country lifted a ban that had prevented gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
In May, four police officers were exonerated for their alleged role in the brutal killing of gay rights activist Zak Kostopoulos back in 2018. Two non-officers were found guilty for their role in Kostopoulos’ death.
The verdict “follows in the tradition of police violence never being punished even by our courts,” said Anny Paparousou, a lawyer for the Kostopoulos family, in a statement published by The Guardian. “While we welcome the guilty judgments we are disappointed and opposed to the four officers being set free when we have documented evidence of their participation in the crime.”