Mexico City is the latest municipality to ban anti-LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, a blanket-term for a variety of often harmful “treatments” used to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Not only has conversion therapy been thoroughly discredited, its practices have been likened to torture.
Members of the city’s regional congress voted to criminalize such practices in a virtual session on Friday, though final vote totals are still unknown.
Now any treatment ranging from shock therapy and water torture — which are increasingly uncommon — to less extreme measures like talk therapy and “praying the gay away” as a way to change an LGBTQ+ person’s identity will be considered unlawful. And any doctor who is found offering these treatments will face up to five years in prison with a higher sentence for those who subject minors to the practice.
Mexican LGBTQ+ activist, Enrique Molina credited “brave activists and committed Mexico City legislators” for protecting his community from being subjected to further harm.
“Over the past few years I’ve come to know many — too many — stories of LGBTQ+ people who survived ‘conversion therapy’ and torture, or who have stepped away from their families who believed they could and should ‘change,’” Torre told them. “It’s exciting to witness this historic win. Our community deserves love and respect.”
This vote makes the Mexican Capital the first jurisdiction to ban conversion therapy, just as it was the first place in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. So far, Mexico City is the only place in Latin America to vote on the issue, although it has gained major traction in South America, where Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Uruguay all have nationwide bans in the works.
Efforts to outlaw conversion therapy in the US have been underway, and so far 20 states have banned practices from being performed on LGBTQ+ youth.