The House Plenum is discussing a draft law criminalising conversion therapies aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Akel had filed the draft law for voting on May 17, but it was sent back to the House Legal Affairs Committee after far-right Elam suggested changes seeking to exempt priests from criminalisation for suggesting these “therapies.”
The Elam amendment also aims to exempt from the law, cases where there is consent from the individual undergoing the conversion therapies.
The Church of Cyprus also spoke against the law proposal, with the Holy Synod issuing an official announcement denouncing it.
The matter has been in discussion for more than a year and a half in the House Legal Affairs Committee.
MPs have heard from victims and advocates saying that parents send their children to psychiatrists asking them to change their sexual orientation. Moreover, they were told of cases where priests exorcised children or advised parents and non-heterosexual persons to have hormone therapy.
Due to the pressure to change their identity, some persons attempted suicide, advocates told Parliament.
Conversion therapies have been proven to cause long-term psychological harm in individuals who undergo them.
Crowds outside Parliament in support of law
While MPs discuss, tens of people have gathered outside the Parliament building to voice their support for the law.
The demonstration was called by the activist group Queer Collective CY, with many citizens joining the cause.
(Photos by George Christophorou)