Thursday 20 June 2019

Allow conversion therapy unless harmful - senator

Senator Ronan Mullen. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Senator Ronan Mullen. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Senator Rónán Mullen has suggested individuals should have the option of engaging in conversion therapy unless it is proved to be harmful.

Conversion therapy involves trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions. It has been widely dismissed and criticised by politicians and the LGBT community.

Mr Mullen said it was "an area where many people fear to wade" but "the highest value comes from what people want, provided it does not do harm".

He said: "I do not know enough about it at this stage but if it can be demonstrated that this is harmful to people, there is a very good case to make it unlawful.

"If it cannot be shown to be harmful to people, we are back into the realm of individual choice."

He was responding to a contribution from Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield who had spoken about "the cruelty of so-called conversion therapy".

"It is a vile practice designed to suppress, change or eliminate a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

"The practice has been condemned and discredited by the UN Committee Against Torture, European Parliament and Irish Council of Psychotherapy," he said.

He said it leads to depression, anxiety, homelessness and suicide.

Mr Mullen also raised concerns about the "difficult area of transgender persons' rights and needs". The senator said politicians should "look honestly at the current evidence".

"Many parents who I know are quite concerned about what is taught now in schools in the name of equality with respect to transgender issues, and they question whether children's best interests are being served by what is now often proposed," he said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News