Belfast, Occupied Ireland – Northern Irish ministers have agreed to ban “conversion therapy” for LGBT+ people. The fresh initiative comes after the region’s Health Ministry said in July it was too busy with COVID-19 to move forward on a ban. Meanwhile the UK has promised for two years it will ban attempts to “cure” people’s sexuality or gender identity. However, so far, no part of the UK has advanced bills to do so through parliament.

            Northern Ireland’s breakthrough came when Communities Minister Carál Ni Chuilín agreed to take the policy lead on the issue. She did so after meeting with her colleagues, Health Minister Robin Swannand and Justice Minister Naomi Long. That indicates their three major parties – Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance Party – are on board. However, even that may not be a guarantee the proposals will become law. Marriage equality stalled for years in Northern Ireland while the powerful Democratic Unionist Party blocked it. Under Northern Ireland’s unique political system, the DUP was able to prevent change despite the majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly and most Northern Irish voters supporting marriage equality.

            Meanwhile, south of the border, Ireland is also planning to ban ‘conversion therapy’. Psychologists and psychiatrists around the world agree that LGBT+ identities can’t be changed. Experts say the “therapies” and “cures” are often dangerous. In some cases, they even involved torture. As a result, many countries are now considering bans. So far only Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany have introduced legal bans. Israel, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia and Chile are also considering outlawing “conversion therapy”. There are already bans in 20 US states, including Maryland, and Washington DC. The International LGBT+ organization ILGA World predicted 2020 could be a breakthrough year on the issue worldwide. (Gay Star News – Tris Reid-Smith at