LGBTQ+ groups in London said they are immensely disappointed but not surprised by the Government’s decision not to ban conversion therapy for transgender people.
The Government announced today they are banning conversion therapy for gay and bisexual people, following severe backlash after a leaked Government document containing plans not to ban the practice was released on Thursday.
But there was no mention of a ban on conversion therapy for transgender people, even after four years of Government promises to gay, bisexual and transgender people to ban the method of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Cleo Madeleine, the communications officer for the trans-led and trans-involving charity organisation Gendered Intelligence, said: “Obviously, the callousness and brazenly anti-trans nature of these decisions are a shock and disappointment.
“But to a certain extent it feels almost predictable because this isn’t the first time this government has walked back on promises to LGBTQ+ people.
“Over the past few years not only has the government failed to make progress on LGBTQ+ policy goals but they’ve also been either silent on or actively quite hostile towards the trans and non-binary community and made them an acceptable target.
“Without serious action from the top – discrimination, suffering and harassment will continue and right now the UK are being singled out by Europe for being behind on LGBTQ+ rights.”
CEO of anti-abuse charity Galop, Leni Morris, added: “Let us be clear: a ban without our trans siblings is not a ban.
“So-called conversion therapy is psychological and physical abuse, and LGBT+ people in this country are being put through it simply because of who they are.
“We need this ban. We need it for the whole community.”
A 2017 government national LGBT survey found that transgender people were twice as likely to be offered conversion therapy in comparison to gay or bisexual people.
Conversion therapy can range from therapies and prayer to more extreme methods of suppression, such as exorcisms or physical violence, former government equality adviser Jayne Ozanne explained.
In a 2019 report the NHS and several other bodies all found that sexual orientation or gender identity is not a mental disorder.
Some groups, such as Evangelical Alliance, have claimed religious freedoms would be restricted if there was a ban on conversion therapy.
For anyone needing support, Galop’s National Conversion Therapy Helpline is on 0800 130 3335 and [email protected].