Following an outcry by LGBTQA+ campaigners, former Lewisham Councillor Alan Hall has joined campaigners in calling for a comprehensive conversion therapy ban saying:
“A ban on conversion practices must cover both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Trans people are twice as likely to be subjected to or offered conversion practices as non-trans(cisgender) lesbian, gay or bi people. Government proposals should specifically ensure that the clinical standards for doctors and therapists treating children with gender dysphoria. Banning conversion practices does not criminalise explorative conversations or therapy. Nearly every country that has banned conversion practices has done so for both sexual orientation and gender identity, including in the last 6 months Canada, France and New Zealand.”
Conversion therapy includes medical, psychiatric, psychological, religious, cultural or any other interventions that seek to change, “cure”, or suppress the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of a person.
Figures from the UK Government’s National LGBT Survey found that:
👉 7% of LGBT people have been offered or undergone conversion therapy.
👉 10 % of asexual people have been offered or undergone conversion therapy.
👉 13% of trans people have been offered or undergone conversion therapy.
The UK Government published its proposals to ban conversion practices in October 2021, alongside a public consultation on the proposals that ran for 14 weeks.
The main proposals were:
The Government’s stated intention was to publish the findings of the consultation and proposed draft legislation in Spring 2022. However, a leaked No 10 document at the end of March detailed an intention to not ban conversion therapy at all. After intense outcry, the Government announced it would move ahead with banning conversion practices for LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) people but would not do so for trans people.
Boris Johnson referred to “complexities and sensitivities” when “you move from the area of sexuality to the question of gender”. The Prime Minister added “I don’t think that it’s reasonable for kids to be deemed so-called Gillick-competent to take decisions about their gender or irreversible treatments that they may have. I think there should be parental involvement at the very least.”
The Queen’s Speech makes the exclusion of trans conversion therapy from the ban explicit, but does promise: “Recognising the complexity of issues and need for further careful thought, we will carry out separate work to consider the issue of Transgender Conversion Therapy further.”
The proposals relating to sexual orientation and conversion therapy will ban this to a limited extent as adults will still be able to consent to the practice according to the Government.
The ban “will protect under-18s, regardless of circumstance, and over-18s who do not consent and who are coerced or forced to undergo conversion therapy practices.”
ITV News has spent the past four years investigating conversion therapy and uncovered many practices which would not necessarily be described as ‘coercive’.
For example, in 2018 they exposed practices at Winners Chapel in Kent, where an undercover reporter was told that the devil had made him gay and intense prayer could help him.
Commenting in the Independent on the announcements in today’s Queen’s Speech, Jayne Ozanne, a former government LGBT+ adviser, said that the bill will create a “loophole of consent” which will continue to put “many lives” at risk.
The former adviser said that while she was “relieved” ministers were still pledging to ban the practice “they are creating so many loopholes and leaving so many people unprotected”.
Ozanne added: “The government’s own research shows that trans people are twice as likely to be offered “conversion therapy” and it is an utter disgrace that they have purposefully omitted them from the ban.
“The government’s duty is to protect the most vulnerable from abuse, not to side with the abusers. By creating a loophole of consent, the government continues to ignore the advice of legal experts and survivors like myself, who know that this will continue to put many lives at risk.”
Recently, on 5th April 2022, Iain Anderson said he was resigning from his Government role as the LGBT business champion as they are “trying to drive a wedge” between trans and lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
There’s no LGB rights without the T maybe a chant or a hashtag, however it’s more important than ever if we are not to be drawn into a culture war designed to divide and rule. This is no place for a ‘woke’ war.
A dedicated conversion therapy helpline run by experienced LGBT+ staff. The helpline is open to all LGBT+ people in the UK who are victims of so-called “conversion therapy”, or who think they might be at risk. The service is run by LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop, which works directly with thousands of LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence every year.
The National Conversion Therapy Helpline is open 10:00-16:00, Monday to Friday on 0800 130 3335, or you can email CThelp@galop.org.uk
The full text of Alan Hall’s letter is:
I am writing to ask for your support in the campaign to ban so-called “conversion therapy” – practices that seeks to change, “cure”, or suppress a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
At the end of March, the UK Government appeared to abandon its commitment to ban conversion practices for all LGBTQ+ people, leaving trans and non-binary people at risk of abuse and lifelong harm.
The UK Government’s 2018 National LGBT Survey that 7% of respondents had been subjected or been offered conversion practices. The figures are higher for trans people, with 12% trans respondents having been subjected or offered it.
The law today does not protect your constituents from this harmful practice. There is no excuse for abuse, and no LGBTQ+ person should be left at risk of these abhorrent practices.
The Ban Conversion Therapy coalition has provided a briefing with information on why including trans people in a ban on conversion therapy is necessary.
Please write to Liz Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, and Mike Freer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities), and urge them to implement a full legislative ban as detailed in the briefing.
You could also share your support by using the hashtag #BanConversionTherapy on social media.
I hope I can rely on your support to ban conversion practices, so that we can continue to progress towards a world where all LGBTQ+ people can live without shame or fear.