“We call on the whole LGBTQ+ community – and organisations supporting the LGBTQ+ community – to join trans people in protesting this farce of an event”

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY ORIEL FRANKIE ASHCROFT VIA PEXELS

Yesterday (31 March) there was a leak of a Downing Street document seen by ITV News, which stated that the government has abandoned its pledge to ban so-called “conversion therapy”. These are practices which try to change, suppress or “cure” an LGBTQI person’s sexuality or gender identity. Boris Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May had promised to make it illegal and last year consultations began on how to move the ban forward.

After the documents were leaked, there was a collective outrage from the LGBTQI community and our allies. Within hours of the announcement, Paul Brand, the journalist who broke the original story, reported that the prime minister had backtracked. He will now move forward with the ban on “conversion therapy” and it will “absolutely” be in the Queen’s speech.

Paul Brand was told “the Prime Minister was shifted by the strength of the reaction from Conservative MPs and ministers when they saw the story break.”

“But he has removed trans conversion therapy from the equation and is insisting any bill must not have ‘unintended consequences’.”

Yesterday marked International Transgender Day Of Visibility, and this is a sombre reminder that visibility does not equal liberation. But as Lady Phyll pointed out yesterday, it does cause increased vulnerability.

Many activists and campaigners have addressed the harm of excluding trans people from the ban.

TransActual has released a statement: “We are appalled but not surprised at the Government’s reported decision to row back from banning conversion practices for trans people. Just a few months ago, this same Government called conversion practices abhorrent. Its LGBT Survey of 2018 uncovered that trans people were twice as likely to be subjected to conversion practices, with Black trans people and trans people of colour vastly more impacted by them.”

“This decision to walk away from banning abhorrent practices leaves the most vulnerable in our society exposed to harmful actions disguised as therapies. It is notable that only those organisations opposed to trans inclusion have welcomed this decision.

“We note that the Government remains committed to it’s Safe To Be Me conference. This conference is spectacularly misnamed. While conversion practices for trans people remain legal, it is clearly not safe to be me if you are transgender or non-binary. We urge people to consider whether attending this conference is sensible when the Government is rowing back on what appear to have been hollow promises.
“We call on the whole LGBTQ+ community – and organisations supporting the LGBTQ+ community – to join trans people in protesting this farce of an event.”

@niccrosara

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