LGBTQ+ activists have reacted negatively to The Queen’s announcement of the Government’s plans to have a public consultation on banning gay conversion therapy in the UK.
The Government will launch a consultation on how to best support the LGBTQ+ community in banning conversion therapy but have not said when this will take place.
Chief of Experience at Salford Pride, Ricki Hewitt said: “I am deeply concerned about the Government’s decision to seek consultation on the ban, they have been dragging their feet since 2018 when they first announced a pledge to ban the practice. The Consultation is framed as a bid exploring how to “protect” therapists and teachers, and uphold religious freedom, as “legitimate” forms of pastoral support. There is no legitimate form of conversation therapy, it is an abhorrent practice disguised as compassion.
“Conversion therapy is dangerous and discredited practices that have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for at least a decade, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBT+ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy, often under the guise of pastoral support or religious pseudoscience and this legitimisation of the practice is frankly dangerous.
Mr Hewitt continued: “Young people are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy has been shown to lead to increased cases of depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.”
In 2018, former Prime Minister Theresa May swore to end the so-called dangerous and discredited ‘therapy methods’ that supposedly change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, however it is still legal in the UK.
Paul Lunn, a Salford activist for the LGBTQ+ community, said: “My existence, and that of the rest of the LGBT+ community, is not up for public consultation on whether this bigoted and harmful practice, that was born out of bigotry and simply cannot work is to be kept in place!
“Thought the U.K. had moved past treating the LGBT+ community as second class citizens or property rather than actual people! Rather than pandering to those that are against the LGBT+ community and re-enforcing the belief that LGBT+ people choose to be LGBT+. This barbaric and insulting practice should be made illegal.”
In a briefing note from Number 10, accompanying the speech, the Government said it will ensure the action it takes is “proportionate and effective, and does not have unintended consequences”.
According to Statista, those who have experienced conversion therapy are more likely to attempt suicide and have higher rates of drug use.
For any information or support visit: Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline