SANTIAGO – A new law proposal has been presented by a Chilean member of Congress, aiming to prohibit therapies focused on the change of sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the law, a large majority of Chilean children face actions taken by family members during childhood, with the goal of “getting them straight again.”
According to Chilean deputy Natalia Castillo from the Democratic Revolution party (RD), 70% of the Chilean children that are homosexual or transgender have family members trying to change their sexual orientation or gender identity during childhood, for example through “conversion therapies.” To prohibit these therapies, the deputy presented a law proposal called #NadaQueCorregir (Nothing To Correct).
“Every time a family tries, through conversion therapies and other mechanisms, to modify the sexual orientation, identity or gender expression of a child, they are abusing their kid. This is intrafamilial violence,” Castillo explained according to RadioUChile.
“Psychologists and therapy centers can no longer continue with these therapies, that violate the rights of children.” According to Castillo, LGBTQ + children have more mental health problems, and the suicide attempt rates are four times higher because of the discrimination and stigmas they face in their family environment during childhood.
Porque no hay #NadaQueCorregir en la orientación sexual o identidad de género de la niñez, es que junto a @PamJiles presentamos un proyecto que protege a la infancia de acciones que atenten contra quienes son. Información + como sumarse a la campaña acá: https://t.co/Mk6u1kCVzv ! pic.twitter.com/vlo03vjlDf
— Natalia Castillo Diputada (@ncastilo) May 16, 2019
Through the presented project Castillo seeks to amend the law on domestic violence in Chile. Families that seek measures to modify the sexual orientation or gender identity of their children, will be punished by law. Six other Chilean deputies have already supported the initiative.
Chile would not be the first country to ban conversion therapies. In the United States, these laws are regulated on state level. Last month, the state of Minnesota moved to ban conversion therapy, but 21 other states still haven’t banned the controversial methods.
Over 700,000 children in the U.S. have experienced these therapies, said a study from The Williams Institute and according to the Human Rights Campaign, highly rejected LGBTQ young people are eight times more likely to attempt suicide and six times more likely to aquire severe depression, in comparison with LGBTQ children who were not rejected by their parents.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.