Officials from the Department of Children have been tasked with exploring ways of banning the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ in Ireland.
The direction from Minister Roderic O’Gorman comes as an all-island coalition to outlaw the practice was formed this week.
Conversion therapy refers to any form of treatment proposed to change a person's sexual orientation or to suppress a person's gender identity.
Minister O’Gorman said the Irish government “must be proactive in banning practices that not only propagandise harmful and discriminatory messages, but ones that also have serious negative consequences on a young person’s mental health, with the potential to inflict long-lasting damage.”
“Legislating for a ban on conversion therapy will send a clear and unambiguous message to everyone, both younger and older, that a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is not up for debate," he said in a statement to The Journal.
The Minister for Children said it would “especially protect” young people who may be subject to such ‘therapies’ due to “external pressures.”
No one should be forced into being something they are not. So called 'conversion therapy' is a dangerous pseudo-scientific practice with damaging consequences.— Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) April 15, 2021
We have a duty to ensure no one in Ireland suffers this. https://t.co/8eczv2cU7A
In a tweet, Minister O'Gorman added that “no one should be forced into being something they are not” and labelled so-called conversion therapy' “a dangerous pseudo-scientific practice with damaging consequences.”
“We have a duty to ensure no one in Ireland suffers this,” he said.
In 2018, Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield proposed to ban the practice with the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill.
The bill would prohibit conversion therapy as “a deceptive and harmful act or practice against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.”
Almost 20 senators co-signed the bill when it was first put forward but almost three years later the bill has only reached the third stage in the Seanad.