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Greece passes LGBTQ conversion therapy ban

Pride in Thessaloniki, Greece - June 23, 2018
Pride in Thessaloniki, Greece - June 23, 2018 Photo: Shutterstock

Greece banned conversion therapy for minors this week, with a law that prohibits psychologists and other health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ clients.

“There were some false treatments that stated that when a minor has chosen a different sexual orientation, his parents could supposedly proceed with ‘treatments’ for this child to ‘return to normality,’” Health Minister Thanos Plevris told parliament. “Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy but they are not supported scientifically.”

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The bill will require “explicit consent” from adults who want to undergo conversion therapy and mental health professionals could face fines and time in prison if they violate the law.

The bill also bans advertising for conversion therapy.

Mainstream mental health and medical organizations have denounced conversion therapy as harmful. The practice has been associated with increased depression, anxiety, and suicide risk among survivors.

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics early this year estimated that conversion therapy costs the United States $9.23 billion annually, with costs associated with resulting mental health and addiction issues.

Fourteen countries and 20 states in the U.S. ban conversion therapy. France, New Zealand, and Canada banned conversion therapy earlier this year.

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