UK Government Set To Ban Conversion Therapy But Experts Warn Of ‘Highly Dangerous Loophole’
The UK Government is set to ban conversion therapy, but experts have warned that a ‘highly dangerous loophole’ may have been created as a consequence.
Conversion therapy is a type of practice that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay or bisexual to heterosexual. This is done using physical, psychological and spiritual means, and can prove to be extremely harmful and distressing for the person being subject to it.
Many places across the globe have banned conversion therapy, including Victoria, Australia, and now the UK is planning on doing so as well.
The government’s plans were outlined during the Queen‘s Speech that took place today, May 11. It’s predicted the new law will be passed within the next year and will ‘eliminate coercive practice practices which cause mental and physical harm’.
While many will applaud the news, some LGBTQ+ experts have expressed concerns over the wording on the pending legislation.
As per the Independent, Jayne Ozanne, a former government LGBTQ+ adviser said:
The government is creating a highly dangerous loophole by focusing purely on ‘coercive’ practices. Most LGBT people in religious settings feel it is their duty to submit to those in authority and will therefore willingly follow their leaders’ ‘advice’, even if it causes them great harm. The government needs to do what the UN has called for — a full ban on conversion practices.
Back in March, hundreds of British churches wrote to the prime minister asking him to not completely ban the controversial therapy earlier this year.
Documents published yesterday said ministers will ‘launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy’.
It further stated that they had ‘commissioned research into the scope of practices and experiences of those subjected to conversion therapy’ in a bid to fully understand how to best protect those vulnerable to conversion therapy.
The banning of conversion therapy has long been promised by the British government after former PM Theresa May first pledged to stop it three years ago. This was followed by Boris Johnson who highlighted his intentions to tackle the issue last summer – however, many have criticised the government for ‘dragging its feet’, BBC News reports.
With this in mind, Ozanne concluded, ‘We don’t need yet more delay, they have consulted long enough. We now need action before more lives are lost.’
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]