karendesuyo via Flickr

The small country is generally quite friendly towards the LGBTQ community.

Over 20,000 people have signed two different petitions aiming to get gay ‘conversion therapy’ banned in New Zealand. One petition was started by Young-Labour and Young-Greens and got 15,448 signatures, while the other petition was created by InsideOUT for the LGBTQ community in the Rodney area. That petition got 5,157 signatures.

The current government of New Zealand has condemned the harmful practice, however it’s legal for it to still happen. And some of the methods include electroshock therapy, exorcism and chemical castration.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Max Tweedie, the co-convenor of the Young-Greens said: “There has been a spotlight shone on it, hopefully we can send a message to our young people that says if someone is trying to do this [‘conversion therapy’] to you – it’s wrong and it’s actually illegal.”

Tweedie also said that there was “undeniable” proof that the practice was harmful, and that young people would find it easier to reject if it was illegal.

Tweedie was pleased at the support that the petition got, saying: “We got to 20,000 in about three to four weeks. It just sends such a strong message that this type of practice has no place in Aotearoa [Māori for New Zealand] in 2018.”

Related: New Zealand to allow the wiping of criminal records of people convicted for being gay

Jan Logie, an MP for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, said: “They say to people they can pray or talk or shock the gay, the trans, the lesbian away and that is just wrong. There is no need to suppress or deny our diversity.” She also called the practice the “ultimate form of victim blaming.”

Gay ‘conversion therapy’ is becoming more unpopular around the world. Last month, Delaware became the 14th U.S. state to make the practice illegal on minors. The other 13 are New Jersey, California, Oregon, IllinoisVermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, NevadaWashington, Hawaii, Maryland and New Hampshire; however the latter two haven’t yet implemented the ban.

Elsewhere, the EU has voted to condemn the practice, and urged all member states to ban it within their countries. Terry Reintke MEP and Malin Björk MEP, who are part of the EU’s LGBTI Intergroup said: “Despite great progress in many countries over the last decade, discrimination against LGBTI people is still a reality in the EU.

“LGBTI people should be free from discrimination, bullying, and violence. Their right to self-determination should be guaranteed, and their bodily integrity protected.”

Although the UK will cease to be a member of the EU from next year, the government has introduced its LGBT Action Plan. One of its 75 points is to ban ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK.