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The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has made it clear that gay-conversion “therapy” is ineffective and dangerous. It has also called for homosexuality to be decriminalised and for “harmful” and “discriminatory” practices to be ended.

In a statement, the WPA said: “Despite an unfortunate history of perpetuating stigma and discrimination, it has been decades since modern medicine abandoned pathologising same-sex orientation and behaviour.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) accepts same-sex orientation as a normal variant of human sexuality. The United Nations Human Rights Council values Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights. In two major diagnostic and classification systems (International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and DSM-5), same sex sexual orientation, attraction, and behaviour and gender identity are not seen as pathologies.”

The WPA advocates that a number of actions should be taken including:

• Equal access to healthcare and the rights and responsibilities that go along with living in a civilised society.

• It acknowledges the lack of scientific efficacy of treatments that attempt to change sexual orientation and highlights the harm and adverse effects of such “therapies”.

• Recognising that the difficulties they face are a significant cause of their distress and calls for the provision of adequate mental health support.

• Supporting the need to de-criminalise same–sex sexual orientation and behaviour and transgender gender identity, and to recognise LGBT rights to include human, civil, and political rights. It also supports anti-bullying legislation; anti-discrimination student, employment, and housing laws; immigration equality; equal age of consent laws; and hate crime laws providing enhanced criminal penalties for prejudice-motivated violence against LGBT people.

WPA emphasises the need for research on and the development of evidence-based medical and social interventions that support the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals

The position statement from the WPA brings the world one step closer to equality for all.

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