Gay, transgender conversion therapy ban initiative heads to Parliament

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08/23/2021

A citizens’ initiative to ban sexual orientation and gender identification conversion therapy in Finland reached the required 50,000 signatures on Monday, which means it will now be referred to Parliament for consideration. Supporters of the initiative said they want MPs to ban treatments and therapies aimed at converting gay and transgender people into cisgender heterosexuals. Cisgender refers to people whose gender identities remain the same as the genders they were assigned at birth. Perttu Jussila, who launched the initiative, voiced satisfaction with the support it received. Jussila started the initiative on 19 July of this year. “It’s insane that conversion treatments have not been banned yet. After all, the regulation of alternative therapies was included in [Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s (SDP)] government’s programme. A couple of years have passed now since the government was established, and nothing has really happened. The EU has condemned conversion therapies in its policy, and Malta already banned the treatments in 2016. I simply came to the conclusion that the issue wouldn’t be addressed without a citizens’ initiative,” Jussila explained. Although Jussila was glad that the initiative was heading to Parliament, the moment was also bittersweet. “I find it sad that we are talking about the rights of sexual and gender minorities,” the initiative’s main backer said, adding that each advance the LGBTQIA+ community has made in Finland has required the use of citizens’ initiatives to prompt MPs’ actions.

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