LGBTQ citizens in Albania can rest easier than before. The country has recently become the latest European country to ban conversion therapy.
According to the Human Rights Watch, Albania’s Order of Psychologists announced that they will prohibit members from offering the practice. In Albania, working therapists are required to be registered members of the organization in order to continue practicing.
A statement from the Pink Embassy, the country’s main LGBTQ organization, said the decision “places the Order of Psychologists in Albania in the forefront of the institutions respecting LGBTI rights.” This decision also makes Albania the sixth European country to apply a conversion therapy ban following Spain, Switzerland, Malta, Britain, and Germany. Though, other countries outside Europe, and states/providences within those countries, are considering similar bans or slowly rolling them out. This includes Brazil, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States.
This move 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 Pink Embassy added.
According to the StarTribune, this is one of the rare times that Albanian officials have chosen to support LGBTQ citizens. Back in 2010, Albanian officials passed an anti-discrimination law that granted legal rights to gay people. Outside of gay marriage, that is. Unfortunately, the country has since seen continually high rates of LGBTQ discrimination and violence.
“Social attitudes toward the LGBT community are generally negative and among the most unfavorable at the European level,” the Pink Embassy noted.
Though, maybe this announcement by the Order of Psychologists is the beginning of a change in Albania. A day prior to the order’s announcement, LGBTQ organizations held a virtual Tirana Pride 2020. As an act of protest, Pride organizers sent Pride flags to ministries and other top public institutions with a motto saying, “Be proud! Raise the flag!”