Joshua Lloyd responds to the latest news on UK Government brining forward legislation to ban conversion therapy.
When people think of conversion therapy, they think of it as a thing of the past. Unfortunately still to this day in 2021, there are still far too many LGBT victims of conversion practices throughout the UK.
Rob Cookson, Deputy Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation highlighted in a recent statement that there should be no delays in an effective ban on conversion therapy.
“Today, in 2021, our team are still supporting LGBT victims of conversion practices in the UK. Three years ago, the Government pledged to end this abhorrent abuse of LGBT people and we are glad to see action is finally being taken. There can be no more delays, we need an effective ban on conversion therapy.”
What is Conversion Therapy?
In short, Conversation Therapy, also known as "reparative therapy" or "gay cure therapy" is the attempt to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. The therapy sets out to stop or suppress somebody for being gay or by living as a gender they feel most comfortable identifying as other than their gender assigned at birth. Obviously you don't need to read behind any lines to understand that this a barbaric approach to any human interaction!
Problems With Conversion Therapy
Conversion Therapy has been clearly proven not to work but yet still continues, leaving LGBT people with long-term physical and/or psychological harm. Conversion therapy is based on the very outdated and false notion that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that should be cured, despite all major medical associations’ agreement that LGBTQ identities are a normal variant of human nature.
No credible scientific study has ever supported the claims of conversion therapists to actually change a person’s sexual orientation. A 2009 report by an American Psychological Association Task Force found that:
“results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through [sexual orientation change efforts].”
According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 10% of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy, with 78% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. Youth who reported undergoing conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not.
UK Government's Stance
Back in 2018, Theresa May's government promised to end conversion therapy as part of its LGBT equality plan. Adding to this, last summer PM Boris Johnson stated that plans for the ban would be brought forward.
However in March 2021, three advisors resigned from the government's LGBT advisory panel due to severe concerns that it was taking far too long for movement. Stonewall charity urged the government to "stop dragging its feet".
In the most recent Queen's Speech, the government announced a consultation will be held in England and Wales before the law changes.
In our views and mirroring the statements from the large majority of other LGBT charities and organisations, any consultation brought forward by the Government has to focus upon both the practical and technical issues to ensure the ban is truly effective and reaching the entire country.
The ban on conversion therapy cannot have any exemptions within for certain professionals and/or religious leaders. It is time for the UK Government to have a moral obligation to make sure this process does not harm any more LGBTQ+ people, nor should it create any negative spotlight or hatred like witnessed in recent consultation on the Gender Recognition Act.
Thorough support must be provided and readily available for those who have been previously harmed by conversion therapy. This support so far has been pressured onto charities and community organisations who already provide excellent services and support.
As highlighted in their recent statement, LGBT Foundation put further pressure on UK Government to highlight the importance of the conversion therapy ban and the requirements for no delay whatsoever.
"Now is the time for action. Every day of delay leaves more LGBT people at serious risk of abuse and torture. There can be no further delays, we need a swift and comprehensive ban on conversion therapy."