Gay rights advocacy denounces Cabinet for backing off gay conversion ban
The gay rights advocacy, COC Netherlands, expressed their frustration that the Cabinet decided not to follow through with a ban on gay conversion therapy on Friday.
“We have waited long enough”, chairman of COC Astrid Oosenbrug said in response to the decision. “I want the government to set a crystal clear standard that these practices are no longer tolerated.”
The purpose of gay conversion therapy is to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. That includes talking therapy and prayer but some organizations also turn to more extreme measures such as physical violence and food deprivation.
“It is a myth that LGBTQ+ people can be ‘cured’”, Oosenbrug said. “You are fine the way you are.”
Instead of implementing a strict man on gay conversion therapy, the Cabinet decided to enforce a code of conduct for religious communities on how to interact with members of the LGBTQ+ community. The majority of the Tweede Kamer had been pushing to outright ban gay conversion therapy.
Research commissioned by D66 member of Parliament, Vera Bergkamp, showed that nearly all people who undergo gay conversion therapy suffer from psychological problems afterward. This included depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, sexual problems and feelings of loneliness.
In the Netherlands, there are around 15 organizations or individuals that offer such therapies, a report by the Beke and Ateno Bureau indicated. The majority of gay conversion therapies take place in Pentecostal, Baptist and Evangelical congregations.