Friday 17th January 2023
Action Needed on Foot of New Conversion Practices Report
LGBT Ireland welcomes the publication by the Government of new research on conversion therapy practices in Ireland, produced by academics from Trinity College Dublin.
The report highlights the clear evidence that conversion practices pose a significant risk to mental health. The report notes that “Considerable research has largely concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are pseudo-scientific, ineffective, and harmful to the individual.” Furthermore, the research shows that conversion therapy places an individual under severe mental strain and is associated with depression, distress, forced isolation and suicidal behaviour.
Research participants wrote about the negative psychological effects of conversion practices using words such as ‘traumatising’, ‘destructive’, ‘anxiety provoking’, ‘horrendous’, ‘harmful’ and ‘damaging’. For example, one person said: “it left me with trauma, from which I am still attempting to heal, it destroyed my self- worth, my sense of self and my health.”
The report supports a legislative ban noting that “Legislation to ban conversion therapy will also support safety and health by ensuring that those who experience distress about their sexual orientation or gender identity because of homophobia or transphobia are unable to access formal conversion practices which have the potential to cause further harm.” This recommendation must be acted on immediately.
The report is also crystal clear on the balance of right. It states that “According to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity should not be ’treated’ using practices that harm. The right to believe religious scripture about the nature of sexuality and gender identity is protected by international human rights legislation. The right to inflict potential harm based on religious teachings to change or suppress sexual orientation and gender identity or for other faith-based reasons is not.”
Finally, the report endorses additional measures noting that “Raising awareness of the harms associated with conversion practices as well as highlighting the evidence that it is ineffective will also help to prevent it from being advocated as a legitimate course of action for those who experience distress about their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Commenting on the report, LGBT Ireland’s Policy and Research Manager, Pádraig Rice, said, “The report published today confirms what we already knew – that conversion practices are harmful, dangerous and should be outlawed.
The Government must urgently act on this report and introduce legislation to ban conversion practices in Ireland – in line with the commitment contained in the Programme for Government.”
“We are also calling on the Minister to work with his counterpart in Northern Ireland so that an all-island approach is adopted.”
17 February 2023
A copy of the report can be found here
Pádraig Rice, Policy and Research Manager – [email protected]
About LGBT Ireland
LGBT Ireland is a national organisation working together with network members, providing support, training and advocacy which aims to improve the lives of LGBTQI+ people across Ireland. LGBT Ireland provides a non-judgmental and confidential service providing listening support through the National LGBT+ Helpline on freephone 1800 929 539, including an online chat service via their website as well as information for the LGBTQI+ community, their family and friends. Visit www.lgbt.ie for more information.
LGBT Ireland is a trading name of LGBT Support and Advocacy Network Ireland Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 20159672 | CRO Number: 605384 | CHY Number: 22036. The Scheme to Support National Organisations is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development.