www.nytimes.com By Liam Stack Dec 7 2016
The Mediterranean island nation of Malta has become the first European country to criminalize therapeutic methods that purport to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the government and activist groups said.
The first bill focused on so-called conversion therapy, a discredited collection of quasi-psychoanalytic methods that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is also sometimes known as “reparative therapy” or, when religious methods are used, “ex-gay ministry.”
Conversion therapy has been increasingly in the spotlight in the weeks since Donald J. Trump won the United States presidential election because of speculation that his running mate, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, supports the practice. Mr. Pence has denied that is the case.
In Malta, the new law imposes fines and jail terms “on those advertising, offering, performing or referring an individual to another person which performs” any practice “which aims to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” It said “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort.”