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Poland moves step closer to banning gay conversion therapy

Lydia Smith February 22, 2019
Former Polish mayor Robert Biedron recently launched a new liberal political party called Wiosna

Former Polish mayor Robert Biedron recently launched a new liberal political party called Wiosna (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Politicians in Poland have submitted a draft bill to the Parliament which bans the use of gay conversion therapy.

Lawmakers from the liberal Nowoczesna party drafted the bill with the Campaign Against Homophobia.

Conversion therapy, which can include hypnosis and electric shocks, is based on the belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured.

It has been widely discredited by medical experts for risking causing emotional and psychological damage.

Campaign Against Homophobia’s Mirosława Makuchowska announced the proposed bill, saying: “Forcefully persuading somebody that if they try hard enough, they will be able to change their sexual orientation is an act of violence.

“There’s a good reason why the United Nations call such pseudotherapies torture. In Poland there is no law that would ban such quackery and it’s high time it was changed.

The first reading of the draft bill will be held in the Polish Parliament in the next few months.

Nowoczesna politicians and equality activists came together to create the bill after a 2018 European Parliament report on LGBT+ people.

An LGBT+ Pride event in Poland (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty)

Last September, a United Nations Committee said Poland had a “dire need” to ban gay conversion therapy.

The news comes just weeks after Robert Biedron, Poland’s first openly gay politician, launched a new progressive, pro-European Union political party called Spring.

Robert Biedron, the former mayor of the town of Slupsk, hopes to challenge the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party as the country prepares for both domestic and European elections this year.

Speaking at a rally in the capital Warsaw, Biedron said: “In recent years we had a really tough choice. On one hand we had the politics of statistics and economical indicators.

“On the other hand, we had a grotesque caricature of democracy, with constitutional breaches, limitations on women’s rights, and propaganda instead of public media.

“Neither one side nor the other solved our problems. We have had enough of this war. We won’t let them run Poland instead of us any more. They’ve all let us down.”

“We are the spring, we bring in fresh air to Polish politics,” he added.

More: Europe, Europe, gay conversion therapy, LGBT rights, Poland, Poland, robert biedron

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