Just as Taiwan steps ever closer to marriage equality, they are also showing progression in other areas as a draft regulation bill which will ban harmful “gay cure” therapy has been published.
“Gay cure” therapy, or more properly “conversion therapy” is essentially torture designed to change someone’s sexuality and is seen as harmful by various health organisations and is rightfully recognised as dangerous to your physical and mental well being.
The Taiwanese government are consulting with the public for 30 days, and once this period is over will decide whether or not actually enforce the ban on “gay cure” therapy. Such a ban would be done as an addition to the Physicians Act, which would fine or suspend any medical professional who practices banned treatments.
The bill was published on December 30, meaning that the consultation period is already ongoing. However, it has been in discussion since June, as it was brought up Taichung City’s Gender Equality Committee as several attendees took issue with doctors practicing this cruel “treatment”.
“Sexual orientation is not an illness,” the head of the ministry’s department of medical affairs Shih Chung-liang said.
As mentioned previously, Taiwan is well on it’s way to be the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, and that is expected to happen sometime in 2017. The gay cure ban, if it comes to fruition, is expected to come into effect by March this year.
With any luck, we can see both marriage equality and a ban on gay cure therapy implemented within the same year, cementing Taiwan as probably the most progressive and forward thinking country in Asia.
While we’re hoping, let’s hope that we also see this barbaric practice utterly banned in as many countries as possible. Regrettably, while it is condemned and discredited in the United Kingdom, it is still legal. It is also still legal in most of the states in the US, with only Vermont, California, New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon, and the District of Colombia outlawing the practice entirely.
Hopefully, if this bill goes through in Taiwan we can see similar all out bans put into place here and the United States.