Gay Conversion Therapy Is Still Allowed In UK Despite Years-Old Government Pledge
Nearly two years after pledging to ‘eradicate’ gay conversion therapy in the UK, the government has yet to make a move to action this promise.
In 2018, former prime minister Theresa May introduced an LGBT action plan outlining the government’s plans to prioritise bringing an end to conversion therapy, with ministers stating the practice ‘must be stamped out’.
However, as Albania joins Germany in outlawing the cruel and traumatising ‘therapy’, the UK has yet to begin introducing a similar ban, with equalities minister Kemi Badenoch describing the issue as being ‘very complex’.
A year after the pledge was made, a July 2019 progress report claimed a formal consultation was on the way. However, this consultation has yet to come to fruition.
Badenoch has stated the government are as of yet unsure how to proceed with the matter:
There are a wide range of practices which may fall within its scope and we want to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the situation in the UK to inform an effective approach.
Before any decision is made on proposals for ending conversion therapy we must understand the problem, the range of options available and the impact they would have.
We will work to deepen our understanding and consider all options for ending the practice of conversion therapy.
A Government Equalities Office spokesperson told the Independent the government ‘remains committed to ending conversion therapy’, but stated that this may not entail a legal ban, with research having been commissioned as a means of informing different approaches.
The spokesperson emphasised this would not be a case of backtracking by ministers, as the ban had not been specifically promised in legislation. The department was not able to give a time frame for any upcoming legislation or consultation.
The practice of conversion therapy has been widely debunked by medical professionals across the globe, with the treatment regarded to be traumatising and psychologically damaging.
Conversion therapy has been performed for over a century, and usually involves talking therapy. However, some doctors have been known to use shock therapies and induce associative nausea in those being treated.
Gay conversion therapy is already outlawed in Switzerland and Malta, as well as some areas of Australia, Canada and the US.
After legislation was passed on May 7, those found offering the ‘therapy’ to minors in Germany could face up to a year in prison, or a €30,000 (£26,268) fine.
Now Albania has followed suit, with psychiatrists in the country facing disciplinary proceedings should they carry out the treatment.
You can sign a petition to make LGBT conversion therapy illegal in the UK here.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]