More than 20,000 people call for ban on gay conversion therapy
LGBT+ rights campaigners have handed two petitions, with more than 20,000 signatures between them, to New Zealand’s government – calling for gay conversion therapy to be banned.
The other petition, handed to parliament by LGBT+ charity InsideOUT on behalf of a local LGBT+ group in the Rodney area, received 5,157 signatures.
Gay conversion therapy remains legal in New Zealand. It can include electroshock therapy, exorcism, and chemical castration.
However, the current New Zealand government has condemned the practice.
In July 2018, health minister David Clark described conversion therapy as “abhorrent.”
And, in August 2018, justice minister Andrew Little said that the government could consider a conversion therapy ban when it reforms the Human Rights Act 1993.
Max Tweedie, co-convenor of Young-Greens, told Radio New Zealand: “There has been a spotlight shone on it, hopefully we can send a message to our young people [if conversion therapy is banned] that says if someone is trying to do this to you – it’s wrong and it’s actually illegal.”
The campaigners gathered the 20,000 signatures in less than four weeks.
Jan Logie, a Green MP and rainbow issues spokesperson, told Radio New Zealand that gay conversion therapy is the “ultimate form of victim blaming.”
“They say to people they can pray or talk or shock the gay, the trans, the lesbian away and that is just wrong. There is no need to suppress or deny our diversity,” she added.
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In the UK, gay conversion therapy also remains legal.
However, prime minister Theresa May recently pledged to outlaw gay ‘cure’ therapy in the government’s new LGBT action plan, saying she was “shocked” to find out it is still used in this country.
The action plan was published following the results of the government’s national LGBT survey, which had more than 100,000 respondents.
The research found that seven percent of LGBT people had been offered or undergone gay ‘cure’ therapy.
May said conversion therapy has “no place in modern Britain,” adding: “We are determined as a Government to end it. We are going to consult on the best way of doing that and we’re very clear that this is something that does not have a place in our society.”