On Jan. 25, France passed a new law criminalizing conversion therapy. The National Assembly passed it unanimously, and it had already been passed by the majority vote in the French Upper House. With President Emmanuel Macron’s signature, the law will go into effect. Macron has already tweeted in support of the bill, writing, “being oneself is not a crime,” Macron stated.
Under this new bill, anyone convicted can face heavy fines of up to €30,000 and two years in jail. If the act is perpetrated against a minor or vulnerable adult, fines can increase to €45,000 and up to three years’ imprisonment. The law also “opens the possibility for campaigners to file civil suits on behalf of victims, an advance hailed in parliament as a breakthrough for people who hesitate or are unable to alert police themselves,” France24 stated.
The official definition of conversion therapy, according to GLAAD, is “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” GLAAD explained. Statistics on their website show that highly rejected LGBTQIA+ people are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to have used illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to be at high risk for HIV and STDs.
Stonewall, an LGBTQIA+ organization in the United Kingdom, reported in 2021 that thirteen countries had passed some kind of law against conversion therapy, but the United States is not one of them. As of right now, twenty states and over 100 municipalities have passed laws to protect LGBTQIA+ people from conversion therapy. An estimated 698,000 adults in the United States have undergone conversion therapy; 350,000 recieved it as minors.
The American organization Born Perfect states on their website that “Few practices hurt LGBT youth more than attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through conversion therapy,” Born Perfect shares. Born Perfect was created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in June 2014, and their website professes that “We believe that every LGBT child is born perfect and that any young person’s identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender should be honored, celebrated, and supported. We are committed to ending these dangerous and stigmatizing practices across the country once and for all—relegating them to the dustbin of history, and ensuring every child knows they were #BornPerfect,” Born Perfect shared. This organization is actively working to end conversion therapy in the United States, and if you’d like to learn more about their work, check out bornperfect.org.
Sources: France24, BBC, GLAAD, UCLA.edu, Stonewall