Conversion therapy has been banned in several countries around the world, including Germany, Brazil, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and Malta, according to The International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). As our chart shows, outside of North America, most countries do not have any bans on conversion therapies in place, meaning the practice is legal. However, we are now starting to see a shift, as national governments and parliaments in Ireland, Israel, Norway, Denmark and Finland are all actively considering conversion therapy ban legislation, or are in the process of launching discussions on the topic.
Conversion therapy is the process of trying to stop someone from being gay or trying to stop someone who wants to change their gender identity. Methods include spoken therapy and prayer, or even more extreme tactics such as exorcism, physical violence, or food deprivation, as reported by the BBC. The British Psychological Society and Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK declared that all kinds of conversion therapy are “unethical and potentially harmful”.
Brazil was the first country to ban the practice relating to sexual orientation, back in 1999, and extended this to cover gender identity in 2018. Several countries have introduced a criminal ban for health practitioners that carry out the practice, some of which include Taiwan, Ecuador and Malta, according to StoneWall. Meanwhile other countries, like Spain, Australia and the U.S., have seen gains with implementing bans on a regional or more local basis.
This map reflects the ILGA’s latest data, which is from 2020. New Zealand has since banned conversion therapy and the next update will reflect these figures.