Albanian psychologists ban so-called conversion therapy

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Gay rights organizations on Saturday welcomed a decision by the governing body of psychologists in Albania to prohibit the so-called conversion therapy, which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expressions.

A statement from the Pink Embassy in Albania, the country’s main LGBT organization, said the decision “places the Order of Psychologists in Albania in the forefront of the institutions respecting LGBTI rights,” making Albania the sixth European country to apply such a ban following Spain, Switzerland, Malta, Britain and Germany.

All registered therapists in Albania must be members of the Order of Psychologists.

The move is “significantly important for LGBTI adolescents, whose parents often force them to undergo conversion therapy, in the hope of changing their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Pink Embassy said.

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A day earlier, LGBT organizations held a virtual Tirana Pride 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a separate activity they distributed their multicolored flag to ministries and other top public institutions as part of their motto “Be proud! Raise the flag!”

Albania passed an anti-discrimination law in 2010 that grants legal rights to homosexuals but does not allow same-sex weddings. There is still widespread anti-gay prejudice, discrimination and reports of violence against gays within families, though though there have been no attacks on pride parades.

“Social attitudes toward the LGBT community are generally negative and among the most unfavorable at the European level,” the statement said.

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