Gay conversion therapy will be banned in the Netherlands

Conversion therapy intended to “cure” people’s sexuality will now become punishable by law in the Netherlands.

A majority of the House of Representatives support a private member’s bill to impose a prison sentence or a heavy fine to therapists who attempt it.

Victims of conversion therapy see this as a good step towards better protecting young, LGBTQ+ people in the Netherlands, RTL Nieuws reports. 🏳️‍🌈

In time for Valentine’s Day

Politicians, doctors, and psychologists in the Netherlands discussed conversion therapy often — but they never formally banned the practice. The cabinet asked for more research, and critics said that the ban would “add little”.

But after several years of discussions and haggling, members of parliament submitted a bill to make these therapies punishable after all — on Valentine’s Day, no less.

Most house representatives agree to impose a one-year prison sentence or a fine of up to €22,500 for anyone who attempts to conduct conversion therapy. The Council of State will discuss the new law and, if approved, it will come into effect in one year.

A “medieval” practice

Much of conversion therapy consists of individual counselling sessions accompanied by verbal and physical abuse. Therapists attempted to “pray” demons away with lay on hands and speaking in tongues (unintelligible languages).

Many politicians described conversion therapy as “medieval” — but the Netherlands has a history with this type of “healing”. The practice existed as early as the 1930s, and doctors castrated some men for their sexuality.

But under the influence of LGBT emancipation, conversion therapy is now widely seen as a harmful practice. Today, most people who try to change their sexuality come from a conservative religious background.

Serious consequences

Many victims of conversion therapy face serious psychological consequences, including the onset of panic attacks, depression, and suicidal thoughts. One victim was diagnosed with PTSD after their experience with therapy.

In the end, many victims hope this law is a step towards protecting a new generation of LGBTQ+ people in the Netherlands.

Feature Image: AnjoKanFotografie/Depositphotos

Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native living in the Netherlands to finish her master's degree in political communication. You can usually find her trying to organize everything on Notion and the sticky notes app, otherwise, she’s nose-deep in a good book or obsessing over film soundtracks and video games.


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