German Health Minister Jens Spahn has unveiled a draft law that will ban ‘conversion therapy’.
The practice – which aims to change someone’s sexual orientation to heterosexual – will be banned for all youths under the age of 18, according to German newspaper Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.
However, consenting adults will be allowed to seek “treatment” for their sexuality, only if they can provide evidence that shows they haven’t been deceived, coerced or threatened into doing so. If so, it would be deemed in violation.
The ban would also be exempt for those between the ages of 16-18 if the patient has the capacity to understand the implications and risks of the “treatment”. Those who violate the law can face up to a year in prison and a fine.
Spahn – a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats – identifies as gay, and said the ban would send an important message to “all those who are struggling with their homosexuality”, adding: “It’s okay to be the way you are.”
He first announced plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’ back in June of this year. In a statement, he said: “We have to convince parents to accept their children the way they are and we must take away the worries from young people to feel ashamed.”
Last month, the Interior Ministry revealed that anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in Germany have risen substantially since 2013. In 2013, police recorded 50 incidents against the LGBTQ community, this nearly doubled to 97 last year.
This year there have already been 58 incidents.