Instagram To Ban All Accounts Promoting LGBT Conversion Therapy From Today
As of today, Instagram is banning all accounts which promote LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, a cruel and harmful practice based on the notion that being LGBT is an illness which needs to be ‘cured’.
Earlier in the year, Instagram put a stop to conversion therapy being promoted in ads, and is now taking things a step further; prohibiting any content related to this widely discredited ‘treatment’.
Instagram has emphasised that it will take time to for all policies to be updated, therefore some content flagged by users might not immediately be taken down. However, this is expected to change overtime.
EMEA public policy director at Instagram, Tara Hopkins, told the BBC News:
We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.
We are always reviewing our policies and will continue to consult with experts and people with personal experiences to inform our approach.
Conversion therapy refers to several harmful practices intended to change an person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
These practices include the use of humiliating, traumatic and painful techniques to force victims into having negative associations with their own identity.
According to LGBTQ+ crisis intervention and suicide prevention services organisation The Trevor Project, there has never been a credible scientific study to support claims that conversion therapy can actually alter an individual’s sexual orientation.
Aside from being unscientific, conversion therapy can also be extremely damaging. As per a recent peer reviewed study published in The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), young people forced to undergo conversion therapy are over twice as likely to attempt suicide.
A separate recent study from the UN reported that nine out of 10 surveyed survivors from 100 countries said they had suffered damage from having undergone conversation therapy.
Instagram has made a significant step forward, and hopefully other platforms will follow suit. However, there’s still plenty to be done to ensure that no young person ever has to endure this torturous ordeal.
As the UN report makes clear, countries all across the world need to work towards banning conversion therapy altogether, and we are still quite a long way from achieving this goal.
For example, in the UK – where I am writing this article – the government is still yet to take action to ban conversion therapy, following plans to outlaw it back in 2018. This delay is despite the NHS and all major UK therapy professional organisations being opposed to the practice.
This disappointing slowness in tackling this issue has led to widespread criticism, and a petition to make conversion therapy illegal in the UK has gained over 200,000 signatures at the time of writing.
This petition calls upon the UK government to make it a criminal offence to run conversion therapies, to force people to attend such therapies or to send people abroad with the intention of converting them. This petition is also pushing for people to be given protection from conversion therapy
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]
CreditsBBC News and 4 others
The Trevor Project
American Journal of Public Health (AJPH)
United Nations General Assembly
UK Government & Parliament