The French National Assembly has unanimously approved (142 votes in favor and none against), a law that prohibits sexual “reorientation therapies” that try to impose heterosexuality on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. In addition, it announces sanctions of up to three years in prison and fines of up to 45,000 euros for anyone who tries to impose a sexual or gender orientation (see more).

“There is nothing to cure. Being oneself is not a crime, we should not try to change the gender identity or sexual orientation” of people, said the French Minister for Equality and Diversity, Élisabeth Moreno. Likewise, the minister describes the so-called conversion therapies as “barbaric” and the suffering “very often leaves permanent marks on bodies and minds” (see HERE).

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, celebrated the approval of the law on his Twitter account, assuring that “these unworthy practices have no place in the Republic. Being oneself is not a crime, because there is nothing to cure.

This possible Law, which still has to be processed in the Senate, has led to demonstrations in the country, supported by social networks, where a group of “victims” of the reorientation leads the initiative.

France is not the first country to try to ban “conversion therapies”. The Netherlands and the UK are taking similar steps. Canada has also approved a bill in this regard. On the other hand, countries such as Japan, Sweden and Great Britain and some US states have modified their positions in this regard, including many more restrictions on the application of gender transition treatments due to the lack of scientific evidence to support them and the high risk they pose to patients

Bioethical Assessment

The assertions of both the French minister Élisabeth Moreno and President Macron that “there is nothing to cure” do not stand up if the scientific evidence related to cases of gender dysphoria is taken into account.

Very often, dysphoria, which in itself is a painful process for those who suffer from it, in need of care and treatment, appears associated with other disorders that can cause or aggravate it. Ignoring them, avoiding any prior diagnosis, means introducing unacceptable risks in affected patients who, after the transition processes, experience a worsening of their symptoms and a worsening of their quality of life, their dysphoria and any previous disorders that may exist.

These symptoms may take several years to appear after the intervention, and this has led many specialists from various countries to estimate that the risk-benefit ratio of these interventions is unfavorable, especially when they are carried out prematurely at the beginning of adolescence. The irreversibility of many of these processes can leave permanent sequels in those affected, as some repentant experiences show.

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