Malta bans conversion therapy

Malta last week became the first country in Europe to ban so-called conversion therapy.

The Associated Press reported the Maltese Parliament on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would prohibit the widely discredited practice in the small archipelago that is located in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and the North African coast. Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to 10,000 euros ($10,560) and up to a year in jail.

Maltese lawmakers also approved a bill that would lower the age at which a person can legally change their gender without parental approval from 18 to 16-years-old.

A groundbreaking law that took effect in 2015 allows trans Maltese to legally change their name or gender without undergoing sex-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy or “any other psychiatric, psychological or medical treatment to make use of the right to gender identity.” It also extended legal protections to intersex children.

Same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil unions and jointly adopt children in Malta since 2014.

“The (conversion therapy) law is another one in the string of changes that have happened in Malta in the last few years,” ILGA Co-Secretary General Ruth Baldacchino, who is from Malta, told the Washington Blade this week.