A win for #LGBTQIA people in Belgium, where “conversion” practices for members of the LGBTQIA community have been banned.
This development was announced by State Secretary for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Sarah Schlitz, who said that while Belgium is a “pioneer in the field of (LGBTQIA) rights”, with numerous legislative reforms and social efforts bear witness to this claim, “a ban (on conversion practices) was sadly missing from our legislative arsenal.” This ban, then, ensures that members of the LGBTQIA community are given “the opportunity to be yourself and the freedom to live the way you want (which) is a fundamental principle of our society that must not be compromised under any circumstances. This prohibition is a powerful act to protect the victims from this symbolic, psychological and sometimes physical violence.”
“Conversion therapy” is a pseudoscientific practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) to align with heterosexual and cisgender norms. And though Belgium is considered as progressive, the practice was not officially banned in the country, so that a study by the ‘Centre Permanent pour la Citoyenneté et la Participation’ (CPCP) revealed that there are LGBTQIA Belgians who have been victims of the practice.
With this ban, those who will carry out “conversion” practices in Belgium may be imprisoned for one month to two years, and/or fined €100 to €300.
Suggesting or inciting conversion practices will also be penalized.