WELLINGTON, July 30 – New Zealand on Friday introduced legislation that proposes up to five years in prison for anyone intent on changing a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, known as LGBT conversion therapy. .
Justice Minister Chris Fafoi said in a statement that the proposed measures were intended to end practices that do not work, are widely discredited and cause harm.
“Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand. They are based on the misconception that any individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is broken and needs to be fixed,” Fafoi said.
“Health professionals, religious leaders and human rights advocates here and abroad have spoken out against these practices as harmful and the potential to perpetuate prejudice, discrimination and abuse against members of rainbow communities,” he said. .
Under the newly proposed bill, performing conversion practices on a person below the age of 18 years or someone with impaired decision-making ability can be imprisoned for up to 3 years.
Conversion practices causing serious harm can result in imprisonment of up to 5 years.
The government said the bill does not address the general expression of religious beliefs or principles about sexuality and gender.
Laws against conversion therapy are gaining momentum around the world, including in countries such as Canada, the UK and Australia.
There is no federal ban on conversion therapy in the United States, but several US states, including California, Colorado, New York, Washington, and Utah, restrict the practice to some degree. The American Medical Association has described the practice as “harmful and ineffective”.
With the aim of changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, conversion therapy may include talk therapy, hypnosis, electric shocks, and fasting. In extreme cases, homosexual exorcism and “corrective rape” have been documented.
Ending conversion treatment was the campaign promise of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she was elected to a second term last year.