On January 25, France joined a growing number of countries that have a law that bans so-called "conversion therapies" and authorizes jail time for practitioners.
France's ban on "conversion therapy" is a welcome step in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
"Conversion therapy," also known as "ex-gay therapy" or "reparative therapy," is a dangerous and discredited practice that attempts to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The idea behind "conversion therapies" is based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured. In reality, there is no evidence that "conversion therapy" is effective, and it can actually be harmful, leading to anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
The practice has been widely denounced by medical and mental health organizations.
In a major victory for LGBTQ rights, the French National Assembly approved a new law that ends "conversion therapy" unanimously (142-0). The Senate passed the bill in late 2021 with a resounding 305 votes in favor and just 28 opposed.
Before the vote, French government's equalities and diversity minister Elisabeth Moreno described "conversion therapies" as "barbaric" and told lawmakers that the suffering they inflict "very often leaves permanent marks on bodies and minds."
The new legislation is expected to come into effect next week after President Macron signs it into law.
Starting this month, the legislation includes criminal penalties for those who try to repress or change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ+ people. These actions impact their physical or mental health in an attempt to conform to heterosexuality or traditional gender expectations. They can be sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined up to 30,000 euros ($34,000).
The punishment for this crime could be up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($49,000) for attempts involving minors or other particularly vulnerable people.
One of the other ways that the law protects LGBTQ individuals is by allowing advocacy groups to file civil suits on their behalf. This means that if someone has been the victim of "conversion therapy," they can ask an advocacy group to file a lawsuit on their behalf.
This can be a helpful option for people who do not feel confident enough to file a lawsuit or simply alert police themselves, or who want to take advantage of the resources and expertise of an advocacy group.
In addition, it can provide some measure of protection for LGBTQ+ minors who may be reluctant to come forward and publicly identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ community.
By allowing advocacy groups to file lawsuits on their behalf, the law helps to ensure that all LGBTQ+ people have access to justice.
In recent years, there has been a growing movement to outlaw so-called "conversion therapies." France has now joined the United States, Germany, Canada, and other countries in passing a law criminalizing these practices. With this new law, France is taking a stand against these dangerous and discredited practices.
This is a major victory for LGBT rights, and it sends a strong message that these practices will not be tolerated.
President Macron welcomed the approval of the new law with a tweet, saying "Let's be proud. Because being yourself isn't a crime."
In a move that is sure to please the LGBTQ community and its allies, France has banned "conversion therapies." This is a major victory for LGBTQ rights in France, and it is hoped that other countries will soon follow suit. "Conversion therapy" is still legal in many countries, and it continues to be used to harm LGBTQ+ people, especially minors. This new law will help to protect French queer minors from being subjected to this harmful and abusive practice. The penalties for those convicted of engaging in anti-LGBTQ actions are significant, and the law also provides much-needed support for victims. It is a major step forward for LGBTQ rights, and it will help to make France a safer and more welcoming place for all members of the community.