It is the third European country to introduce a ban.
Just a few weeks after Germany nationally banned gay ‘conversion’ therapy for minors, Albania followed suit and issued its own ban.
So-called therapy, which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association, refers to any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and usually involves techniques such as electroshock therapy or prayer.
The measure, however, did not come from the Albanian parliament, but from the Albanian order of psychologists. Talking to AFP , Altin Hazizaj, head of the LGBTQ group’s Pink Embassy, said his decision was “legally valid”.
He added: “This is the final decision that does not need to go through the legislative or executive to take effect.”
However, despite this “significantly important” movement for “LGBTI teenagers”, LGBTQ rights are not surprising in Albania. In its statement, Pink Embassy said that: “Social attitudes towards the LGBT community are among the most unfavorable at the European level”.
In 2010, the country passed a series of anti-discrimination measures in areas such as employment, purchases of goods and services, etc., and allows LGBTQ people to serve in the armed forces and donate blood, but the community still faces social prejudices.
The country still does not refreeze same-sex relationships, let alone allow same-sex marriage, and it is also illegal for LGBTQ couples to adopt children and trans and non-binary people to change their legal gender.
A 2015 survey found that only 6% of Albanian parents would give their full support if their child was LGBTQ. In its recent 2020 report, ILGA Europe ranked Albania in 28 of 49 European countries, with a score of 31 out of 100.
He highlighted issues such as trans people being evicted from their apartments for being trans, hate speech growing in the media, particularly with regard to trans people and a gay student having to drop out of school after being targeted after leaving.
Albania is the third European country to ban gay ‘conversion’ therapy after Malta and Germany. It should be noted that Switzerland does prohibit the practice, but whether a practitioner has broken the law is decided in court on a case-by-case basis.