To show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, more than 370 international religious leaders signed a declaration earlier this month demanding a global ban on gay conversion therapies.
Along with banning conversion therapies, the declaration also calls for nations to end the criminalization of people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
This declaration was led by the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives and was signed by religious leaders from more than 35 countries around the world.
“We recognize that certain religious teachings have, throughout the ages, been misused to cause deep pain and offense to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex. This must change,” the commission said in a statement.
“That is why we have launched the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, which aims to provide a strong and authoritative voice from religious leaders across the global faith community who wish to affirm and celebrate the dignity of all, independent of a person’s sexuality, gender expression, and gender identity.”
Religious leaders who have signed this declaration include Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa; former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Rabbi David Rosen; and President of the United Church of Christ in the United States, Rev Dr. John C. Dorhauer.
Conversion therapy aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, an idea that has been discredited in countries all over the world. However, it remains legal in many countries around the world, including in the United Kingdom. Though twenty states in the United States have some ban on conversion therapy, including New York, Utah, Virginia, and Colorado, there are still other states where it is legal.
Malta, a tiny nation in the Mediterranean, made history when they became the first country to implement a nationwide ban on conversion therapy back in 2016. Although an increasing number of nations are following in Malta’s footsteps, many religious leaders have been more reluctant to take a stand against the much-maligned practice.
Jayne Ozanne, who is the director of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ lives, is thankful so many countries and religious leaders have come together to put an end to conversion therapy.
“We’ve never had such a powerful, clear, and supportive statement from so many leaders. I do not think that any government can be deaf to the cries of survivors. We need to act with some urgency,” she told CNN.