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Out in the World: LGBTQ news from Europe and Asia

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PORTUGAL The Portuguese Parliament passed the final draft of a bill this past week, which was first introduced last May by the Bloco de Esquerda, the populist democratic socialist political party, that outlaws “any practice aimed at the forced conversion of sexual orientation, identity or gender expression.” Joined in a coalition with the Livre and PAN parties, the new law incorporates into the country’s penal code that “whoever subjects another person to this type of treatment, including the performance or promotion of medical-surgical procedures, practices with pharmacological, psychotherapeutic or other psychological or behavioral resources, will be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine.” During the parliamentary debate in the Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees, the College of Physicians Committee issued a statement in which it criticized this type of therapy for “not having proven its effectiveness nor respecting the ethical and deontological standards of medical practice.” The organization highlighted that “diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity represents normal expressions, which cannot be considered diseases.” The law now heads to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for his signature.

Passage of the law by Parliament brings Portugal into alignment with other European Union nations. Malta was the first European country to ban the practice followed by Germany, Greece, Albania, France and Belgium.

SPAIN The Assembly of Madrid, the unicameral autonomous legislature which governs the region around Spain’s capital city, voted this past week to rollback protections for transgender people.

The measure was passed by the conservative People’s Party. The measure also contained a proviso that guidelines preventing harassment of LGBTQ students in schools is eliminated, all content aimed at showing the LGBTQ community and the training of teachers in this matter are removed from the study plans.

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