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Bill outlawing gay conversion therapy approved

Parliament approves Bill presented by the ministry for civil liberties which criminalises conversion practices

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Yannick Pace
5 December 2016, 9:30pm
Parliament has approved a bill that will outlaw conversion therapy
Parliament has approved a bill that will outlaw conversion therapy
The Maltese parliament has approved the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Bill, which will see conversion practices criminalised and categorised as a deceptive and harmful act.

Amendments to the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Acts were also approved.

Under the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Bill, conversion practices, and their advertising, will be met with fines and the potentially a prison sentence.  

In addition to this, the Bill affirms that no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort.

The changes to the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act, will allow non-Maltese individuals who are detained to have their lived gender recognised. In addition to this, the bill will also lower the age at which persons may request a change in gender. The amendments will allow anyone who is sixteen years or older to have their gender changed without needing to file an application in Court and will not require parental approval.

The Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP) welcomed the law banning the “inhumane” gay conversion therapy. 

The Bill, which enjoyed the unanimous support of all MPs, will see people who attempt to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation receive a fine ranging between €1,000 and €5,000 or a jail term of five months.

A spokesperson for the MCP said “the Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP), The Maltese Association of Psychiatry (MAP), The Malta Association of Family Therapy & Systemic Practice (MAFT–SP), as well as the Malta Association for the Counselling Profession (MACP)are together, very proud to have played an integral part in the drafting of this bill, which openly disapproves of practices which are harmful to people in our community.”

Describing gay conversion as “inhumane,” the MCP said “not only does it reject a group of individuals on the basis of unfound prejudice and lack of tolerance for diversity, but also because it impinges on the international recognition of LGBTIQ rights; also supported by progressive trends to depathologise such individuals from mental health statistical manual classifications.”

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons, and are determined to continue working towards ensuring our clients can enjoy as safe a therapeutic experience as they deserve,” the statement added.

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Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...