9 Jan 2017

Taiwan Proposes ‘Gay Cure’ Ban

Taiwan’s ministry of health publishes a draft bill to ban so-called gay conversion therapies amid country’s march towards same-sex marriage legislation.

Taiwan could see controversial gay conversion therapy—in which medical procedures are used to alter a person’s sexuality—banned as soon as March after the country’s health ministry published a draft law that would make the practice illegal.

The draft regulation would place the therapy on a list of prohibited treatments, and according to the Physicians Act, doctors could be subject to fines of between NT$100,000 (US$3,095) to NT$500,000 and may be suspended for one month to one year for engaging in such treatment.

"Sexual orientation is not an illness," said Shih Chung-liang, head of the ministry's department of medical affairs, in explaining the rationale behind the proposal.

The draft regulation was suggested in June 2016 by Taichung City's Gender Equality Committee, which said some medical professionals practiced conversion therapy and hurt the physical and psychological health of some of their patients.

Is is under public consultation for the next 60 days, after which it could be promulgated as soon as March.