European Parliament Takes Stance Against LGBTI Conversion Therapies for First Time

European Parliament Takes Stance Against LGBTI Conversion Therapies for First Time

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Photo: European Union
Photo: European Union

On March 1, 2018 the European Parliament adopted its Annual report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU. The report assesses how fundamental rights were implemented in the EU in 2016, and what must still be done to reach the standards laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

This year’s report contains strong content on LGBTI rights, condemning all forms of discrimination against LGBTI people (para. 62).

Particularly, it contains key provisions on the role of education against LGBTI-phobia (para. 60). It also condemns pathologization of trans people and calls for legal gender recognition procedures that are quick, accessible and transparent (para. 64).

Furthermore, Parliament reiterates the need to fight discrimination against intersex people, especially so-called “sex normalizing” surgeries, which are medically unnecessary (para. 66).

The Parliament also called for the adoption of the proposal of the Horizontal Directive, still blocked in the European Council (para. 50). This Directive would protect EU citizens against discrimination based on sexual orientation in all areas of life, including education and provision of goods and services.

An amendment tabled by the Greens and GUE/NGL was adopted by 422-159 majority (45 abstentions), urging the Commission and Member States to guarantee freedom of movement for same-sex couples and their families (see amendment 7).

Terry Reintke MEP, co-president and Malin Björk MEP, vice-president of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, said: “Despite great progress in many countries over the last decade, discrimination against LGBTI people is still a reality in the EU. LGBTI people should be free from discrimination, bullying, and violence. Their right to self-determination should be guaranteed, and their bodily integrity protected.

This report is a key assessment for the safeguarding of fundamental rights in the European Union. We now count on the European Council and the European Commission to keep working on securing and protecting the rights of LGBTI people in all areas of life.”

With another adopted amendment, the Parliament condemns the practice of LGBTI conversion therapies for the first time ever with a large majority (435 +, 109 -, 70 o) (see amendment 8).

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, vice-president of the Intergroup in LGBTI at the European Parliament, commented: “Currently only the UK, Malta and some regions in Spain have explicitly banned LGBTI conversion therapies. The UN Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Human Rights Committee have already condemned the practice of conversion therapy in several countries.

Today, for the first time ever, the European Parliament is taking a stance against LGBTI conversion therapies. This report is an example of how the EU can be at the forefront of the fight for fundamental rights.”

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