The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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Advertising conversion therapy to become illegal

Sabrina Zammit Thursday, 12 January 2023, 12:01 Last update: about 2 years ago

The advertising, spreading, referencing or authorisation of conversion therapy is going to become illegal, Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality Rebecca Buttigieg announced on Thursday.

In a press conference, Buttigieg said that the law banning conversion therapy was first passed in 2016, however people could still advertise the practice.

She said that it did not make sense that there was no legal backing for when it came to the advertising and the spreading of conversion therapy.

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“As policy makers, we should look at every policy and implement the realities of today,” she said.

Looking back, Buttigieg said that 50 years it was also a Labour government which presented the Bill to decriminalise homosexuality, adding that “for that time it was seen as something very controversial.”

The parliamentary secretary added that thanks to this new update, like it was 50 years ago, Malta will continue to be a pioneer in civil liberties.

Buttigieg also reminded that the country will also be hosting the EuroPride festival this coming September, describing it as the largest gathering of love and diversity Malta has ever seen.

Referring to people within the LGBTIQ+ community, the parliamentary secretary said that it is a pity that despite there having been major changes legally and socially, there are still those who push members of the community to ‘conform’ with what they think is normal, “when this shouldn’t happen.”

She added that members of the LGBTIQ+ community have a right to dignity as any other person, and should never be subject to changing their way of life or their sexual orientation.

Gabi Calleja from the Malta LGBTIQ rights movement (MGRM) said that studies carried out overseas have shown that conversion therapy is started as early as 14 years of age. They added that this happens mostly because forming part of the LGBTIQ+ community might be seen as “unnatural, going against God or as an illness.

She added that nowadays this is known as not being the truth and that being part of the community does not mean that they have something which is unnatural about them.

Calleja added that the idea behind conversion therapy is that the heterosexual orientation is seen as something superior than being homosexual amongst other orientations. 

“Every orientation should be given the same value, and none of them should be seen as being a disability or an illness,” Calleja said.

She concluded that the work and support given to the LGBTIQ+ community should come from practically every governmental department.

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