Joining France, New Zealand, and Canada, Greece announced last Wednesday that it is officially banning conversion therapy, the harmful practice of attempting to suppress the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans community members.
Parliament approved the bill, which states that clinicians, psychologists, or other health professionals cannot perform conversion therapy on an individual without their permission. To do so in Greece now carries a legal penalty such as a fine or even jail time.
It will also be illegal under this new law to advertise conversion therapy.
“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”, Health Minister Thanos Plevris told parliament this week. “Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy, but they are not supported scientifically.”
This law comes amid a growing trend of governments and political figures around the world coming out against the harms of conversion therapy, which is often backed solely by religious reasoning and has proven to psychologically hurt those it’s practiced on. Prince Gohil, an openly gay Prince of Gujarat, India recently came out with his sexuality and traumatic history with conversion therapy.
Breaking ground on new supportive legislation
Going a step further, Minister Plevris added that Greece will also move forward with legislation that bans surgeries on intersex infants and babies born with atypical chromosomes that affect their reproductive anatomy in a way that does not fall in the categories of normative gender definitions.