United Nations

U.N. Calls for Global End to Conversion Therapy, Says It ‘May Amount to Torture'

The practice, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, is currently banned in just five countries

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The United Nations released a report documenting the global reach and impact of gay and transgender “conversion therapy,” calling for nations around the world to work to ban the scientifically discredited practice.

Conversion therapy practices, the U.N. document states, are “interventions of a wide ranging nature” that are “aimed at effecting a change from nonheterosexual to heterosexual and from trans or gender diverse to cisgender.”

Minors are often subjected to this practice, the U.N. found, in part because they lack the legal right to control their health care decisions and “as a result of the desire of parents or guardians to have them conform to expectations, either their or their communities, regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The report, released in May, was written by the U.N.'s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz. Established in 2016, the office’s mandate is to investigate discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people around the world and produce two annual reports, to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

The office has “faced a lot of pushback from a number of states,” said Sahar Moazami, a U.N. program officer at OutRight Action International. “It’s been ‘controversial,’ as they say at the U.N.”

Before the report's publication, Mozami said the U.N. hadn’t “really spoken about conversion therapy,” describing the potential impact of the report as “huge.”

“We take it for granted that we can speak about these things openly, or even to have the language to express that ‘I experienced conversion therapy,’” Mozami said. She said the compilation of a report of the many forms of conversion therapy inflicted upon LGBTQ people around the globe “provided an outlet for individuals to provide their experiences.”

The report makes plain that conversion therapy is a risk to LGBTQ lives around the globe.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com

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