President promulgates ban and criminalization of forced sexual conversion therapies

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The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has promulgated the Assembly of the Republic decree that prohibits and criminalizes practices aimed at the forced conversion of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The President of the Republic has promulgated the decree of the Assembly of the Republic that prohibits so-called ‘sexual conversion’ practices against LGBT+ people, criminalizing acts aimed at altering, limiting or repressing sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, amending Law 38/2018 of August 7 and the Penal Code,” says a note published on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic.

Parliament approved the law on December 23, 2023.

The final text included bills from the PS, the Left Bloc, Livre and PAN and was supported by the Liberal Initiative and the PCP, but was voted down by the PSD and Chega.

The law amends the Penal Code, prohibiting “any practices aimed at the forced conversion of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression”.

“Anyone who subjects another person to acts aimed at altering or repressing their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, including the performance or promotion of medical-surgical procedures, practices with pharmacological, psychotherapeutic or other psychological or behavioral resources, shall be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine,” the final text states.

In the case of irreversible physical changes, the prison sentence can be up to five years.

The penalties are increased if the crimes are carried out by more than one person, if the victim is under 16, under 14 or a particularly vulnerable person, among other situations.

Anyone convicted of these crimes may also be banned from exercising functions that involve regular contact with minors and from assuming the trust of a minor, be it adoption, foster care, civil sponsorship or another type of guardianship, for a period of between two and twenty years.

It is also planned to carry out a study of practices aimed at altering, limiting or repressing sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in Portugal, their impact on the physical and mental health of victims, as well as surveying the number of victims throughout the country.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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