Albania bans Conversion Therapy on LGBTI persons!

This article is based on the statement from our member organization PINK Embassy

The latest decision from the Order of Psychologists makes Albania the 6th country in Europe that prohibits conversion therapy.

The Order of Psychologists in Albania, ordered on 16 May 2020 a total ban of conversion therapy by psychologists, making the country one of the first in Europe where such therapies have been banned. The decision 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 decision was taken at the request of the PINK Embassy in Albania, the country's leading LGBTI organization, which works to establish new standards and approaches of institutions towards LGBTI rights. PINK has long viewed with concern the use of conversion therapy in Albania.

Although reports of the use of such therapies in Albania have been small, allowing them has been a serious concern, especially for the physical and emotional well-being of young LGBTI persons. Conversion therapy is a therapy used by psychologists and involves any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expressions.

The decision comes on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which is celebrated every May 17 in over 170 countries around the world. It places the Order of Psychologist in Albania in the forefront of the institutions, respecting LGBTI rights. There are only 5 other countries in Europe that have banned conversion therapy: Spain, Switzerland, Malta, the United Kingdom and Germany. Albania is the 6th country to apply the ban.

Data from other countries show that people who have experienced the therapy are 8.4 times more likely to commit suicide; 5.9 times more exposed to high levels of depression; 3.4 times more likely to use illegal substances.

Although Albania has made progress over the last few years in protecting LGBTI rights, prejudice, discrimination and domestic violence are present in the lives of many gay people. Social attitudes towards the LGBT community are generally negative and among the most unfavorable at the European level. According to NDIs 2015 LGBT opinion poll42% of Albanian parents would try to find a cure for their children if they found out they were LGBT.

Some data on the LGBTI community in Albania 

(based on observations and studies by Gallup, NDI and the PINK Embassy Albania):

-      94% of Albanians would not support their child if they found out that he/she belonged to the LGBTI community;

-      53% of Albanians believe that “homosexuals and lesbians should not be free to live the life they want;

-      1 in 3 LGBTI people is a victim of physical violence in the family;

-      66% of Albanian teachers are silent in the face of bullying in schools based on homophobia and transphobia;