For those unaware, Malta is a beautiful Mediterranean island within the European Union that consists of about 500,000 people. In recent years, they’ve launched several progressive social reforms thanks in large part to its Labour government elected in 2013. It’s also been named the European country that best respects lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people’s rights by the advocacy group ILGA-Europe – not once but twice!
This week chalks up another of those victories. Valetta’s parliament almost unanimously approved a bill outlawing the practice of “curing” homosexuality. The new law is being called the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act, and jail sentence or fines will be implemented if anyone is found guilty of trying to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.”
The new law also states that “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort”, and lowers the age to 16 for those people requesting gender reassignment without parental approval.
Of course, the supporters of gay conversion therapy say their practice simply employs common psychological techniques for those who voluntarily wish to alter their sexual orientation. Needless to say, this is BS, and, thankfully, the practice is widely condemned by many in and out of the medical and psychological fields.