Conversion therapy will finally be banned in the UK under new plans

11 May 2021, 16:43

Government sets out plan to ban conversion therapy in the UK
Government sets out plan to ban conversion therapy in the UK. Picture: Getty
Emma Clarke

By Emma Clarke

Liz Truss, the minister for women and equalities, confirmed the Government is going to take legislative steps to ban conversion therapy in the UK.

Following the Queen’s speech in Parliament today (May 11), Liz Truss announced that the UK Government will be taking legislative steps to ban the “coercive and abhorrent” practice of conversion therapy in the UK.

Sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy" or "gay cure therapy", the practice falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Techniques used vary and include everything from prayer and food deprivation, to physical violence and shaming.

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According to a national LGBT survey carried out by the Government in July 2018, 5 per cent of respondents had been offered the so-called “conversion” therapy, while 2 per cent of respondents had actually undergone the controversial treatment. In extreme cases, some were subjected to surgical procedures and/or “corrective” rape.

While former UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to ban the practice in 2018, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last year that he planned to bring forward the ban.

That said, in March the Government came under fire for delaying the process - with three committee advisers quitting the panel over the issue. LGBTQ charity and rights group Stonewall also called for the Government to “stop dragging its feet”.

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Today, following the Queen’s speech, minister of women and equality Liz Truss confirmed that the Government is committed to end conversion therapy, and that it was setting out a detailed plan.

"As a global leader on LGBT rights, this government has always been committed to stamping out the practice of conversion therapy," Ms Truss said.

"We want to make sure that people in this country are protected, and these proposals mean nobody will be subjected to coercive and abhorrent conversion therapy."

She added: “Alongside this legislation, we will make new funding available to ensure that victims have better access to the support they need.”

Stonewall tweeted their approval on the ban but said there must not be any further delay.

Before the legislation is introduced, a public consultation on the plan will be put forward. The United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Germany are among other countries seeking to outlaw the treatment.

Earlier this year, New Zealand’s Labour Party vowed to outlaw the practice by February 2022. Only Brazil, Ecuador and Malta currently have national bans on conversion therapy.