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HRC 44 Side Event: Banning conversion therapies – Protecting LGBTI persons from harmful practices

  • Online
  • 15th July 2020, 15:00 CET

Join us on 15 July at 3pm CEST for the Human Rights Council side event discussing banning conversion therapies.

  • Published
  • 13 July 2020
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In his report, the Independent Expert on SOGI defined conversion therapy as “an umbrella term to describe interventions of a wide-ranging nature, all of which are premised on the belief that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, including gender expression, can and should be changed or suppressed when they do not fall under what other actors in a given setting and time perceive as the desirable norm, in particular when the person is lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender diverse.”[1]

So-called conversion therapies are deeply rooted in the historical classification of certain sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions as unnatural, disordered or pathological and, therefore, need to be treated and cured. [2] All around the world, LGBT people have been subjected to multiple so-called “reparative” interventions aimed to convert them into heterosexual and cisgender people. Those interventions include a wide range of practices, from group meetings to compulsory detention in specific facilities [3]; from hormonal treatment to drug-induced “aversion therapies”, from food deprivation to force-feeding, and from psychotherapy to electroshock.[4]

Gross human rights violations are committed in the name of conversion therapies, including cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. However, only four countries in the world actually ban the attempt to change a person’s gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.[5] Even when conversion therapy is often performed privately (e.g., in religious facilities), States are clearly failing to exercise due diligence to eliminate it and to provide rehabilitation, justice and reparations to its victims.[6]

Video message by:

  • Michael Roth, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany


  • Rashima Kwatra, RFSL


  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Lucas Ramón Mendos, ILGA World
  • Amie Bishop, Outright Action International
  • Florence Paré, jurist and bioethicist
  • Xeenarh Mohammed, TIERS

Guest interventions:

  • Tony Briffa, ILGA World
  • Gabriela Zavaleta, Más Igualdad Perú
  • Mauro Cabral Grinspan, GATE

The event is co-organised by:

ILGA World; Outright Action International; GATE; RFSL

The event is co-sponsored by:

Permanent Mission of Germany

Watch the webinar recording