The center-left government of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday pledged to ban conversion therapy, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation, if he or she returns to power, as planned, within polls from October 17.
The globally discredited treatment, which harms and stigmatizes members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans community, however, has adherents in New Zealand.
A recent survey showed that more than one in six respondents said they had been subjected to the efforts of psychiatrists, psychologists or counselors to prevent them from being trans or non-binary, Labor Party leader Tāmati Coffey said.
“Conversion therapy has been linked to serious mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation – which is why it will be banned under a re-elected Labor government,” Coffey said in a statement.
“It is a practice that causes harm and is out of place in the kind of inclusive and modern country that we are.”
Ardern’s Labor-led government, which is part of a coalition with the Green Party and New Zealand’s nationalist First Party, is widely seen as a winner in the election.
In the past, Ardern has spoken out in favor of banning conversion therapy. Although she grew up a Mormon, she left the church because of her conservative view of the LGBT community and in solidarity with her gay friends.
Several states in the United States, such as California, Colorado, New York, and Washington, have banned conversion therapy, which is sometimes performed by religious establishments and can include hypnosis and electric shocks, as a movement grows against it. .
Neighboring Canada reintroduced a bill this month to criminalize such efforts.
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