France votes unanimously to criminalize conversion therapy

Zahra Khan, Contributing Writer

The inhumane conversion therapy is grossly used in the name of “science” to attempt to change or alter the sexual orientation or gender identification of those who identify as LGBTQ. It is clear to see this is anything but a therapy. Conversion therapy was sparked in the nineteenth century when a German psychiatrist claimed in a conference he had made a gay man straight again through the use of hypnosis. Many psychiatrists and doctors followed suit, labeling homosexuality as a medical ailment, a cure being necessary. This sparked the implementation of conversion therapy being a prevalent practice throughout the twentieth century. As the French government’s equalities and diversity minister Elizabeth Moreno highlighted the fact those individuals who have undergone conversion therapy have had reminders in the form of “permanent marks on bodies and minds.” While conversion therapy and the continuous struggle for those who belong in the LGBTQ community to have to fight to preserve their rights as human beings, in pursuit of 20 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, France announced a new law that bans conversion therapies. 

According to CBS News, the National Assembly had a unanimous vote of 142-0 on Tuesday evening which put the law into effect. Violations of this law include jail time of up to two years and 30,000 euros ($34,000) in fines and give people the freedom to file civil suits on behalf of any victims of conversion therapy. If minors are involved, the jail time increases to three years, and the fines are 45,000 making $50,000 as the dollar equivalent. 

This new law will hopefully provide hope and a new sense of comfort for those who are being targeted within the LGBTQ community. As French President Emmanuel Macron stated in a tweet, being oneself “is not a crime.”  According to lawmaker Laurence Vanceuenebrock, a common stigma and argument seem to be those who are equated with identity or sexual orientation are considered to be associated with some sort of sickness. In France’s new law banning conversion therapy, the country hopes to combat this false ideology in an attempt to preserve LGBTQ rights.