UN calls for an end to conversion therapy, calling it a risk for LGBTQ people around the globe

UN calls for an end to conversion therapy, calling it a risk for LGBTQ people around the globe
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The United Nations is calling for an end to so-called “conversion therapy” on members of the LGBTQ community after a report released in May that documented the global reach of the practice found that it may amount to torture. 

The report defines conversion therapy as “interventions of a wide-ranging nature, all of which are premised on the belief that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, including gender expression, can and should be changed or suppressed when they do not fall under what other actors in a given setting and time perceive as the desirable norm.”

The report said conversion therapy “constitutes cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment when it is conducted forcibly or without an individual’s consent and may amount to torture depending on the circumstances, namely the severity of physical and mental pain and suffering inflicted."


Conversion therapy is a state-by-state issue in the U.S., with only 18 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico having laws or regulations "protecting youth from this harmful practice," according to the Human Rights Campaign. In November, the American Medical Association backed a federal ban on conversion therapy, saying it had “no foundation as scientifically valid medical care.”

The report also found conversion therapy is often “a lucrative business for providers around the world,” with American providers charging as much as $26,000 for a single “dose” of conversion therapy.

The UN found that minors are often the victims of the practice because they aren’t able to dictate their own medical choices, which are made by their parents.

“[C]hildren most often undergo practices of ‘conversion therapy’ as a result of the desire of parents or guardians to have them conform to expectations, either theirs or their communities,’ regarding sexual orientation and gender identity,” the report stated.

The report came the same month Germany’s Parliament passed a law banning gay conversion therapy for minors.