Germany is planning to ban so-called “treatments” for homosexuality, often practised by religious groups, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on 11 June.

Gay conversion therapies are not common in Europe, but it is estimated that up to 1,000 people, mostly teenagers and young people, are subjected to processes that include electroshocks and other aversive conditioning techniques that make them averse to homosexual sex or romantic emotions in a process that health professionals often consider mentally abusive that leads to depression and suicide.

“Homosexuality is not a disease and therefore does not require treatment,” Spahn said in a presentation of a report following consultations with a 46-member expert commission. As a result, before the end of 2019, the German government is planning to go beyond the €2,500 fine imposed on professionals involved in such processes to include further penalties.

The “procedure” in the US can cost upwards of $35,000 and can include, for gay men, using Viagra and avoiding female role models such as mothers and sisters.

Malta was the first country in Europe to ban the practice, but it still takes place in many EU member states.