Greece forbade conversion therapy for kids on Wednesday, a treatment that aims to repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and has been criticized as damaging by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans community around the world, as well as health experts.
Psychologists and other health professionals will need a person’s explicit agreement to administer such treatment under the measure, which was approved by Greece’s parliament. Violators will face penalties and a prison sentence.
In Greece, a predominantly conservative country, the government has created a national strategy on gender equality measures that will run until 2025. Conversion therapy was made illegal in Canada, New Zealand, and France this year.
“There were some fake treatments that indicated that when a juvenile chooses a different sexual orientation, his parents might allegedly proceed with ‘treatments’ for this child to’return to normality,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris said in parliament this week.
“Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy but they are not supported scientifically,” the minister said.
The bill also bans advertising such practices.
Plevris added that Greece also plans to ban surgeries on intersex infants and babies born with atypical chromosomes that affect their reproductive anatomy in a way that does not fit with the normative definition of male or female.