The proposed law will ban conversion therapy for everyone under the age of 18. Everyone who breaks the law will face a fine or up to one year imprisonment.
“Homosexuality is not a disease”, the minister, a gay man himself, said according to AFP. “This so-called therapy makes people sick and not healthy.” The minister claims the practices of conversion therapy cause “severe physical and mental harm”.
Adults will still be allowed to go into therapy to ‘cure’ themselves of homosexuality. However, they have to prove they choose to do so without being pressured by others. For 16 to 18-year-olds, an exception has been made as well. If they can prove to be capable of understanding the risks and implications of the treatment, they are allowed to undergo it. Therapies for exhibitionism and paedophilia are not covered by the new law.
Although there was a wide range of support for the minister’s intention, the proposed law was criticised by the Green party. MP Ulle Schauws made remarks on the exception for 16 to 18-year-olds. According to ZDF, he fears these youngsters might be pressured by their parents.
Conversion therapy is believed to be extremely harmful for LGBT+ people. It can lead to depression, anxiety disorders and a higher risk of suicide. It is believed that 1000 people are subjected to conversion therapy in Germany each year.