Stonewall and the #BanConversionTherapy coalition alike have condemned the legislation’s current form
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Following the Queen’s Speech delivered on Tuesday, 10 May, the UK Government has confirmed that it will not protect trans people in its legislative plans for the Conversion Therapy Ban. The move has been criticised by LGBTQI charity Stonewall and the #BanConversionTherapy Coalition alike for its “loopholes”, which fail to protect all LGBTQI people at risk of exposure to so-called “conversion therapies” including trans people and people with intersex variations.
The Queen’s Speech stated that a Conversion Therapy Bill would be introduced to “ban conversion therapy practices intended to change sexual orientation”, citing these practices as causing “extensive harm.” The official document remarked that “recognising the complexity of issues and the need for further careful thought, we will carry out separate work to consider the issue of transgender conversion therapy further”, notably omitting any recognition of the impact of conversion therapies on people with intersex variations.
Unfortunately, this has happened despite staunch opposition from LGBTQI groups. Notably, over 100 organisations pulled out of the UK Government’s international LGBT conference last month over these flaws in the proposed legislation.
Stonewall states: “A ban on conversion practices that doesn’t cover both sexual orientation and gender identity protects nobody. Those who want to erase or suppress LGBTQ+ people from living their lives do not differentiate between the two. Globally, all recent bans have covered both because the international community recognise that the motivations behind the practice stem from one thing: a hatred of LGBTQ+ people. The UK Government must stop playing politics with our lives and introduce a ban that protects all LGBTQ+ people.”
Jayne Ozanne is the Chair of the #BanConversionTherapy Coalition and Director of the Ozanne Foundation. Of the news, she comments: “Whilst I’m naturally relieved to see that the government are still committed to banning “conversion therapy”, it is of great concern that they are creating so many loopholes and leaving so many people unprotected. The government’s own research shows that trans people are twice as likely to be offered “conversion therapy” and it is utterly immoral 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. The Prime Minister would do well to listen to his international counterparts who have implemented full bans, rather than those who wish to be able to continue these abusive and harmful practices.”
Prof Javier Garcia Oliva, Revd Dr Helen Hall, Dr Ilias Trispiotis and Robin Dormer are lawyers working with the Ban Conversion Therapy Legal Forum and have furthered Jayne’s concerns. “We are deeply concerned about a consent loophole, which will leave countless people at risk of abuse. The government’s duty is to protect people from harm independent of whether they have consented to it or not as consent here can never be truly free and without pressure”, they state.
Want to support the fight for a complete ban on conversion therapy in the UK? Show your support through the Ban Conversion Therapy website. To keep up with Stonewall, visit their website or follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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