MPs to submit own law banning gay conversion therapies
Various parties in parliament have had enough of waiting on the caretaker Dutch government to ban gay conversion therapies, or anything promising to "cure" homosexuality. D66 parliamentarian Jeanet van der Laan, together with the VVD, GroenLinks, and PvdA, will therefore write their own bill to criminalize these practices before the year is out, she said to newspaper AD.
"This concerns people in a vulnerable phase in their lives," Van der Laan said to the newspaper. "As a teacher and team leader at school, I have often seen the struggle of young people. In addition, children in closed communities often don't even realize that it is not okay that their orientation should change."
Last week Ministers Hugo de Jonge of Public Health and Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security informed parliament that the cabinet will not yet ban therapies that claim to "cure" sexual orientation and gender identity. The furthest the cabinet was willing to go, was a promise to vigorously oppose such therapies.
But that is not good enough for Van der Laan and the parties supporting her. A study last year revealed that the Netherlands still counted 15 therapists and organizations that claim they can cure homosexuality. Children exposed to these practices usually suffer severe mental health damage. "I would have liked the cabinet to have said: this may be difficult, but we are going to arrange it one way or the other. This is an attack on wanting to be who you are. That is at odds with Article 1 of the Constitution," the D66 MP said.
LGBTQ+ interest organization COC also denounced the government's lackluster response to calls to ban gay conversion therapies. "It is a myth that LGBTQ+ people can be 'cured'. You are fine the way you are," COC chairman Astrid Oosenburg said. “I want the government to set a crystal clear standard that these practices are no longer tolerated.”