UK government stands firm in excluding trans people from conversion therapy ban forcing multiple organisations to withdraw from LGBT+ conference

UK government stands firm in excluding trans people from conversion therapy ban forcing multiple organisations to withdraw from LGBT+ conference

UK Government plans to go ahead with a conversion therapy ban that excludes trans individuals, forcing LGBTQ+ organisations to come together and take united action. 

 

Last Thursday (31 March) it was leaked to a British TV network that the long-promised ban on conversion therapy in the UK had been scrapped altogether, thereby rolling back on promises made by two sitting Prime Ministers AND THE QUEEN, over several years with no result.

 

However, mere hours after the news broke and in response to immediate public backlash, the government made another U-turn on its decision, saying that it would go ahead after all.

However, shamefully and inexcusably, the renewed plans would NOT include a ban on the archaic practice for trans people.

 

Paul Brand, the journalist who broke the story, tweeted: “The Prime Minister has changed his mind off the back of the reaction to our report and he WILL now ban conversion therapy after all,” he said.

“Senior Govt source absolutely assures me it’ll be in Queen’s Speech.

“But only gay conversion therapy, not trans.”


The practice of conversion therapy can take various forms but often refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity, using psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions. It is based on the assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’.

These therapies are widely considered ineffective, unethical and harmful for anyone who undergoes the process.

 

On May 4th, despite a huge public outcry on the matter, the Government issued a statement confirming their plans to treat trans conversion therapy separately to gay conversion therapy “due to their concerns about “unintended consequences”, particularly for under 18s.”

The statement reads: “The Government has a proud record on LGBT rights, and the Prime Minister is committed to bringing forward legislation to ban conversion therapy,”

“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”, it continued.

“This is a legally complex area and we have a responsibility to ensure unintended consequences are not written into legislation, particularly in the case of under 18s.”

 

In response to the complete fucking shit show decision, multiple LGBTQ+ and HIV organisations – including Stonewall, the Black Trans Alliance and Mermaids – have now pulled out of the planned Safe To Be Me conference, which had been billed by the government as the UK’s first ever global LGBT+ conference, set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first official London Pride.

 

“That the Prime Minister @BorisJohnson would so casually walk away from four years of promises to the LGBTQ+ community is appalling, and we cannot in good conscience back Safe To Be Me at a time when our community’s trust in the UK Government is shattered,” Stonewall wrote on Twitter.

The Stonewall statement is backed by currently at least 80 other LGBTQIA+ organisations – including GIRES, Mermaids, The LGBT Foundation, The Peter Tatchell Foundation, The Proud Trust, and The Ozanne Foundation – under the LGBT+ Consortium, an umbrella body for charities working in the UK. More are expected to follow suit.

 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested that the government’s U-turn on conversion therapy was a way of distracting people from the much publicised ‘cost-of-living crisis’ currently happening across the UK.

“The Government should just keep to its promises on this”, Starmer said.

“But look, let’s be honest and clear about what’s happening today – the Government is trying to get us all to talk about conversion therapy because they don’t want us focusing on the cost-of-living crisis, on the increase in energy bills, where they’ve got such a pathetic response.

“So it’s wrong, the Government should keep to its promises. But, you know, this is classic Conservative, trying to sort of distract people over here, when really the issue is the cost of living and energy prices.”

 

In any instance, the withdrawal of such major players will all but render the planned Safe To Be Me conference unworkable and dead in the water, leaving the Government looking even more fairly useless in the process.

Whether that impacts their decision at this point remains to be seen. 

 

The latest shameful Government fuck up blow to LGBTQ+ freedoms comes shortly after the release of a study that showed almost a third of LGBTQ+ people in the UK are victim’s of abuse by close family members as a result of their sexuality or gender identity.

Alarming results showed that almost one in three people (29%) surveyed experienced a range of abuse – from verbal harassment to threats of homelessness and physical violence – by a relative, most often their own parents, with individuals being humiliated, outed or shunned by family because of their sexuality or gender identity.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Peter Tatchell Foundation (@petertatchellfoundation)

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by LGBT Foundation (@lgbtfdn)