By Leah Kilby
For many who understand the term ‘conversion therapy’ also understand the negative and often harmful outcomes of it. A form of ‘therapy’ that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation, oftentimes using methods widely considered unethical.
In recent years we have seen many countries ban the practice of conversion therapy. The most recent of which was Canada, who officially banned it on the 8th of December 2021. Their President, Justin Trudeau described the practice in a tweet as ‘despicable and degrading’.
France also passed a bill to ban conversion therapy on the 7th of December 2021 with the senate voting 305 in favour and 28 against.
While rarely seen practiced in Ireland, conversion therapy has yet to be outlawed. The prohibition of conversion therapies bill was brought to the Seanad on the 25th of April 2018. The bill has yet to be passed and according to the Oireachtas website is currently being examined as of 25th September 2020.
However, a social media movement has sparked people’s interest online. A campaign on Uplift.ie to ban conversion therapy has seen a rise in signatures to support the movement recently. The campaign had 10,000 signatures over 7 months ago but as of this month has over 20,000 as advertisements across social media platforms has piqued people’s interest.
For many people, it seemed they were not aware that conversion therapy was legal in Ireland.
The movement to #banconversiontherapy is not only for Ireland but Northern Ireland too. The UK Government have plans to ban conversion therapy however the consultation on legislation to ban it was extended by eight weeks on the 9th of December. In a tweet Liz Truss, Minister for women and equalities had this to say about the decision to extend:
In Ireland the bill has yet to be brought to the public but with rise in interest across social media the Irish public are becoming more aware of it. For more information about where the bill currently stands people can look at Oireachtas.ie