(Lisbon) The Portuguese parliament on Friday adopted several bills at first reading that expand the rights of LGBT people, including the ban on “conversion therapy” aimed at changing gender identity or sexual orientation.

The ruling Socialist Party, which has an absolute majority in parliament, has proposed a text providing for sentences of up to two years in prison for anyone found responsible for practices that “facilitate or promote” these “therapies”. “.

Similar bills have also been submitted by other parties and the various texts will now have to be merged into a single law before its final adoption.

The Parliament has also adopted texts in favor of gender self-determination in a school context.

“Conversion therapies” continue to be practiced in Europe, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic warned in a report published in February.

The Strasbourg-based human rights organization has therefore urged member states to put an end to these practices, which can rely on different methods such as electric shocks, taking hormones and exorcism rites. , often “legally and usually under a medical or religious pretext”.

In the European Union, at least “2% of LGBTI people have experienced such practices and 5% have been offered conversion”, practices which can cause “depression, anxiety, self-hatred, suicidal thoughts”, according to this same report.

Malta was in 2016 the first European country to ban them in 2016. Since then, several other states such as Germany, Greece, Albania or France have also legislated in this direction, while in other states projects bans are under consideration.