Greece bans LGBTQ conversion therapy

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A huge rainbow flag is seen in front of the parliament building during a gay pride parade in Athens, Greece June 10, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

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ATHENS, May 10 (Reuters) - Greece on Wednesday banned conversion therapy for minors, a practice aimed at suppressing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity and which the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community worldwide, as well as health experts, have condemned as harmful.

Under the bill, which Greece's parliament approved, psychologists or other health professionals need a person's explicit consent to perform such treatment and face fines and a prison term if they violate the law.

The government has drafted a national strategy that runs until 2025 on reforms promoting gender equality in Greece, a largely conservative country. Canada, New Zealand and France criminalized conversion therapy earlier this year.

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"There were some false treatments that stated that when a minor has chosen a different sexual orientation, his parents could supposedly proceed with 'treatments' for this child to 'return to normality'", Health Minister Thanos Plevris told parliament this week.

"Obviously these treatments not only are not a therapy but they are not supported scientifically," the minister said.

The bill also bans advertising such practices.

Plevris added that Greece also plans to ban surgeries on intersex infants and babies born with atypical chromosomes that affect their reproductive anatomy in a way that does not fit with the normative definition of male or female.

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Reporting by Renee Maltezou Editing by Bill Berkrot

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