DA to submit Private Member’s Bill to prohibit LGBTQIA+ conversion therapy for children
30 June 2021
As Pride month draws to a close, the DA will be submitting a Private Members Bill (PMB) which will prohibit conversion therapy for minors – a dangerous practice focused on the LGBTQIA+ community that falsely claims to change sexual orientation for children.
This is in line with the resolution passed last year at the DA Federal Congress, which committed to endorse a bill that will make conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth under the age of 18 illegal.
However, the current legislative framework under the Children’s Act does not prohibit conversion therapy on children nor does it consider it an offence. The DA believes minors should not be subjected to this reprehensible practice, and that it should be banned in South Africa just as it is in countries like Canada and Brazil.
Section 9 of the Constitution provides that “the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone based on their gender or sexual orientation.” It is in the interest of young people and children within the LGBTQIA+ community to be protected against conversion therapy.
The harmful effects of conversion therapy on mental and emotional health have been widely documented, with many mental health bodies around the world, agreeing that it is ineffective, dangerous and grossly unethical.
The SA Society of Psychiatrists have also stated "there is no scientific evidence that conversion therapy is effective in changing a person's sexual orientation. There is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive."
The DA is committed to challenging human rights violations which seeks to target the LGBTQIA+ community.
Our activism in this space cannot be limited to just the month of June, it is to endure throughout the year and we must find ways to tighten legislative loopholes and change cultures. We are committed to be part of the solution.
Statement issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP - DA Shadow Minister of Health, 30 June 2021