Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield, has today launched the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018.

The bill aims to make the practice of performing so called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapies illegal in this state. ‘Conversion therapy’ means any practice or treatment that aims to change, repress and, or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.

Senator Warfield said:

“Today, I am introducing a piece of legislation which aims to prohibit conversion therapy, as a deceptive and harmful act or practice against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.

“Additionally, it will make removing a person from the State for the purposes of conversion therapy an offence.

“The practice of conversion therapy has been condemned and discredited worldwide by institutions such as the UN Committee Against Torture, the European Parliament and by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.

“We have been aware that conversion therapy has been ongoing within the state for some time.

“Investigative journalism by Hot Press magazine, Gay Community News and comments by former President Mary McAleese on RTÉ Radio One this week all shed a light on this harmful and deceptive practice.

“I note that An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar will be meeting US Vice President Mike Pence this week and has expressed his intention to raise LGBT rights issues.

“Given that Vice President Pence has previously called for resources to be directed toward institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour, An Taoiseach should assert that his Government on behalf of the Irish people are opposed to such ideologies and that we value all of our people’s contribution to the diversity of this island.

“I am hopeful that the cross-party support we have received for this Bill will ensure its passage through the Oireachtas.

“To date, twenty one Senators have co-signed the bill; from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, Green Party and Independents.”I would also like to thank the National LGBT Federation – NXF, for their encouragement and support for this legislation.”