The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill:
New Zealand has introduced legislation seeking to ban conversion therapy, which refers to the practice of trying to “cure” people of their sexuality, gender expression, or LGBTQI identity.
- The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill aims at preventing any harm caused by conversion therapy and promote healthy discussions on gender and sexuality. The bill also provides for civil redress.
- The bill proposes to make an offence to perform conversion therapy on children, youngsters under the age of 18 or anyone with impaired decision-making capacity. The punishment for the offence will be up to three years of imprisonment.
- Under the bill, it is also an offence to make anyone go through conversion therapy, irrespective of their age, and cause them serious harm. The punishment of this offence will be up to five years of imprisonment. Although, the bill is unclear on what “serious harm” means.
- The Human Rights Commission would play a significant role in educating about conversion practices and in help survivors access any support that they need.
- New Zealand is not the first country to impose a ban on conversion therapy practices.
- Other countries that have, over the years, imposed a ban on such practices are Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. Germany passed a ban on advertising and the practice of conversion therapy in minors, in May last year.
- Other than these countries, 20 states in the US and a few cities in the US, Canada, Australia and Spain have banned the practice.