Members of Salford’s LGBT+ community have praised religious leaders who have publicly supported a proposed ban on conversion therapy.

Salford Pride’s Ricki Hewitt, Head of People, said: “I think it’s really good for those LGBT+ people who are people of faith to see their leaders are accepting of them, and are taking a stand against conversion therapy, which I describe as discrimination disguised as compassion.”

He continued: “Unfortunately, because of the way a lot of faith communities have talked about [the LGBT+ community] in the past, they have felt ostracised.”

“The UK Council for psychotherapy moved away from conversion therapy in 2014. So, I think it’s really great that religious leaders are acknowledging that conversion therapy is an abhorrent practice and shouldn’t be something that’s endorsed.”

‘LGBT+ therapy’ is still taking place in Greater Manchester.

Those who are subject to conversion therapy are more likely to attempt suicide and have higher rates of drug use.

Nadia Ahmed, Salford University student, and singer, said: “In reality, a lot of religion is based on love and agape.

“It’s all about accepting others, not pulling them apart, and telling them they’re wrong.”

“My experience [of Salford] has been super positive. But then I don’t think I’m the sort of person you look at and automatically think ‘they’re bi or queer or anything’.”

Nadia Ahmed
Image credit – Nadia Ahmed

Salford student, Charley Marlowe, said about the support from the religious community: “I think it’s really good.

“I was recently watching Ratched [on Netflix] and they put her in the bath full of boiling water and I was like that is disgusting.

“I think you don’t really think about what used to happen and what happens now.”

She also said: “I think Salford is accepting, I think it helps how close it is to Manchester, I always felt like it was an accepting place.”

Charley Marlowe
Image credit – Charley Marlowe

Earlier this year prime minister Boris Johnson pledged to ban conversion therapy, describing it as “absolutely abhorrent”.

The statement came two years after the government’s initial pledge to ban it.

Some fear that a ban may not include conversion therapy for gender identity, and instead only focus on sexuality.

The NHS and major UK therapy bodies all disagree with the practice of conversion therapy on ethical and moral grounds.

Ricki said: “I think, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this government takes the equality agenda all that seriously.”

“Very recently we’ve seen the UK government throw away the gender reassignment consultation they made for trans people.”

More information about the ban on conversion therapy can be found here.

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