Conversion “therapies” encompass a range of practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, seeking to make them heterosexual and/or cisgender. In 2020, a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council described these practices as “acts of torture”, denouncing their harmful psychological effects. Conversion “therapies” first appeared in the United States in the late 1970s, and spread to Europe, often in religious circles, but also in the medical field and more generally in society as a whole. In France, they took the form of discussion groups, seminars or confessions, claiming to “cure” homosexuals. The absence of legislation prohibiting these practices in too many countries makes them invisible, making it difficult to quantify them and condemn their perpetrators.

In recent years, several EU countries have passed legislation to ban these practices. Malta was the first to do so in 2016, followed by Germany in 2020. In the same year, Albania banned psychologists from practising these “therapies”. Greece and France passed laws in 2022, although the Greek legislation only applies to children. In 2023, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus also adopted bans. Other countries such as Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark are considering legislation on the issue. Although all these advances represent positive developments in terms of the values that Europe embodies, such as respect for human rights, human dignity and equality, these practices must be banned everywhere in the European Union. In this way, Europe could send a message to the rest of the world that we can be and love freely, and that there is “nothing to cure”.

GROW had already taken action on this issue in 2021-2022 before the ban was finally adopted by the French Parliament, thanks in particular to the work of the Rien à Guérir Collective and former deputy Laurence Vanceunebrock. In particular, we engaged in a discussion with the deputy and her team about the content of the text, published several explanatory formats on our website and our social networks, and organised a conference on the subject with various speakers from religious circles and people affected (recording available on our website). Remaining committed to the importance of banning these practices of torture without delay, GROW is calling on the citizens of the member countries of the European Union to sign the Citizens’ Initiative launched by Against Conversion Therapy, for a ban on conversion practices in this LGBTQI freedom zone recognised by the Parliament in 2021. This initiative proposes that the European Union adopt legislation banning these practices and creating a support mechanism to help Member States protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. Submitted to the European Commission, the initiative must now collect 1 million signatures before the European Parliament can vote on this crucial issue. We are counting on your support and mobilisation to help us achieve this goal!

To sign the European Citizens’ Initiative: 

The website dedicated to the Initiative: 

To find out more about conversion “therapies”: 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.