A new bill in the Netherlands is on its way to finally outlaw this so-called conversion therapy. The idea is that if someone will offer conversion therapy to LGBTQ people, they will face up to a year in prison, or even two years for repeat offenders. Also, the law will make it possible to fine people of up to €22,500. Besides, practitioners will face being struck off from their professional register.
The bill is being put before the Dutch parliament and is extremely hopeful. I’ve been in touch with different governmental bodies. I’ve been advocating for implementing mandatory courses, for example for closed-up communities where these sorts of conversion therapies take place on a regular basis, to check that laws are being kept. It is said that fifteen organizations provide such therapies in the Netherlands. Yet, I am more than convinced that those numbers are much higher, since civil society has very limited access to the closed-up communities.
In general, the public, governmental bodies and even specialized organizations have very little understanding of what actually takes place in these sorts of parallel ecosystems. Meanwhile, these closed-up communities continue to grow, as do the major children’s and human rights breaches, in other words, the different forms of coercion.