Germany has now joined Malta, Taiwan, Ecuador, and Brazil in nations that have a conversion therapy ban. A bill, approved by the German government today, makes the country the second in Europe to enact such legislation.
Conversion therapy is a widely debunked set of practices aimed at changing a "patient's" sexuality or gender identity. In reality, these methods, which range from electroshock therapy and water torture to "praying the gay away," are a form of abuse both physical and mental, sometimes leading to severe depression or death by suicide. The methods have been described as ineffective, harmful and deadly by every leading medical association in the United States, as well as other global health organizations.
Germany's ban comes after German Health Minister Jens Spahn promised he would in June 2019. By November, he was circulating a draft of the legislation which would punish violators to a year in prison or a fine. Now, that law has passed with the fine at around $32,000. The bill bars practitioners as well as parents or legal guardians who force their children to take part.
According to the BBC, Germany's Green Party wants the age to be raised to 26 and the left Party wants it to be 27 — it is currently 18. The Lesbian and Gay Federation supported this call in a statement and said that there must be work done to strengthen the bill as is to ensure it is enforced consistently.
20 states in the U.S. have bans on the practice in a patchwork system being headed up by The Trevor Project and Born Perfect. This year Virginia became the first southern state to add its name to that list.
Last year France also reportedly began examining a ban on the practice.