Since Friday, “conversion therapies” for homosexuals have been illegal in Albania. While a text voted in March 2018 by the European Parliament enjoined EU countries to ban these practices, few Member States have since legislated in this direction.
Albania joins Malta, some Spanish autonomies, and recently Germany, having already banned these practices. Albanian psychologists have banned so-called “conversion therapies” which aim to change the sexual orientation of young members of the LGBTI community (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex), a move welcomed by the associations on Saturday 16 May advocacy in the country.
Taken the day before by the order of psychologists, the decision is “considerably important for LGBTI adolescents”, reacted the association for the defense of homosexuals Pink Embassy in a press release.
ALBANIA bans conversion therapy for LGBTI persons! Now we are the 6th country in Europe to ban such therapies! What a …
In Albania, all therapists must be members of the order of psychologists, whose decisions are final and “legally valid”, explained to AFP Altin Hazizaj, president of this association. “It is the final decision which does not need to go through the legislative or executive branch to enter into force,” he added.
“Although reports on the use of these therapies in Albania are few, authorizing them was a serious concern,” he said.
Interventions falsely attributed to science
Collected in several countries, data shows that people who underwent these therapies were 8.4 times more likely to commit suicide and 5.9 times more exposed to depression, according to Pink Embassy.
Ineffective and often dangerous, psychological and spiritual interventions that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation are falsely attributed to science, experts say.
Among the most controversial techniques is the use of electric shock when subjects see images of homosexual practices and the injection of testosterone.
A majority of EU countries have still not banned these “therapies”
A few days before Albania, Germany, where a thousand young people are subject to these programs each year, had itself become the second member country of the European Union (EU) to ban conversion therapies for minors .
“Homosexuality is not a disease, we don’t want that kind of thing in this country,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn. Also, on Thursday 7 May, the Bundestag voted to ban these conversion therapies for homosexual people under the age of 18.
Under this law, anyone who offers or advertises these practices will face a fine of 30,000 euros, or a sentence of one year in prison.
These practices had been condemned by a text voted in March 2018 by the European Parliament which had then enjoined the member states to ban them, but for the moment, only Malta and some Spanish autonomies had legislated in this direction. Also, if they are marginal, these practices do exist in most countries, including France.
In 2010, mainly conservative Albania adopted a law against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. But on a daily basis, most members of the LGBTI community, as in many countries in south-eastern Europe, still face prejudice, discrimination and domestic violence, says Pink Embassy.