Health Ministry Bans Conversion Therapy for LGBTQ+ Community
In recent news, the Health Ministry of Israel took to releasing a circular, which explicitly stated that medical professionals in the State of Israel could not provide conversion therapy. The circular lays emphasis on the potential risks that can arise for a person’s mental health due to the process of conversion therapy. Consequently, the ministry prohibited all licensed professionals from publicizing, providing, as well as offering such kinds of therapies. If any professionals are found providing such services, they will have to face sanctions, as stated by the relevant personnel of the Health Ministry. Moreover, struct disciplinary actions will be taken against such therapists, in addition to a revocation of their license.
It has been several years now that the Health Ministry has been advising against conversion therapy. However, up until now, it had not formally prohibited the act and threatened to sanction those who did provide it. Psychologists in the country are already at the risk of being punished through a disciplinary offense for offering conversion therapy to their clients.
Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister, talked about banning conversion therapy, saying that this is nothing short of a victory for Israel when it comes to equality and tolerance. According to him, this is one of the best steps he has taken towards ensuring the safety of the lives of the people of the Jewish state.
In the words of the Health Minister, conversion therapy is only a form of abuse of youth that is distressed and mentally unstable. He believes that this kind of therapy only kills the psyche of the people converting, and at times, their bodies. The minister went on to stress the importance of taking a stand against all those people who endanger lives by engaging in conversion therapy.
Horowitz continued that over the years, the government was well aware that there were therapists, counselors, and psychologists in the country offering conversion therapy to their clients. However, people who had formerly headed the Health Ministry had taken no steps to take a stand against these professionals who were harming the LGBTQ+ community.
It is the Health Minister’s belief that conversion therapy goes against the primary and most basic values of the health system in the State of Israel. He added that the Health Ministry has now put an end to this practice in a clear, absolute, and official manner. According to Horowitz, everyone, whether it is LGBTQ+ people, transgender people, straight people, lesbians, gays, they are all humans and all perfect the way they are. He asserted that no one should have the right to tell a person otherwise.
The director-general of the Health Ministry, Nachman Ash, further added that the published circular is short, sharp, and to the point. It lays emphasis on what licensed professionals are not allowed to do. Moreover, the circular lays down a definition for conversion therapy as any form of consultation or therapy whose aim is to change the sexual or gender identity of a person.
The circular also states that the gender or sexual orientation of a person should not be viewed as a psychological or medical issue that requires treatment.