General News

New Zealand prime minister vows to ban conversion therapy

Rachel Badham October 7, 2020

Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern promised to outlaw LGBTQ+ conversion therapy if re-elected on October 17. Ardern told Express: “People should not be discriminated against, bullied or hurt for being who they are. We need to rally around that simple premise”. She believes the fact conversion therapy has not yet been outlawed is “a prime example of where an element of our system allows for quite damaging activity, which in modern New Zealand should just not be happening”.

A previous bill to criminalise the practice was unsuccessful which Ardern attributed to the country’s mixed-member proportional electoral system, meaning her party does not govern alone. She hopes New Zealand’s parliament will now show greater support for the bill, saying “I will commit our numbers to delivering this and I hope there will other parties in parliament who will support it”.

GLAAD defines conversion therapy as any kind of practise which aims to alter a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It has been widely discredited and known to cause trauma in those who are subjected to it. Ardern’s move to attempt to outlaw the practise comes shortly after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau reintroducing a previously unsuccessful bill to ban the controversial form of treatment. Like Ardern, Trudeau believes “Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada” and hopes “that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill.”

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau