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Kate Forbes faces backlash over gay conversion therapy comments during SNP leadership debate

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finance secretary, fighting a close race with Humza Yousaf to succeed Nicola Sturgeon, described the practice as "abhorrent" during a live debate on Sky News.The Scottish Government set up an expert group in 2021 to look at the banning of conversion practices, which aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Legislation is due to be introduced at Holyrood by the end of this year.Asked if she would bring in a complete ban on conversion therapy – including the voluntary use of the practice – Forbes stopped short of saying she would.“My commitment to you is to look carefully at (banning voluntary conversion therapy),” she said."What I’m not going to do, because I don’t think any government has done that yet, it is to precede the normal process of legislation.”Asked by presenter Beth Rigby if a gay adult man should be allowed conversion therapy, Forbes said: "Well, it's his choice.

but I do not think we should allow conversion therapy.”She added: “My position on this is that people should be allowed to live as they choose in a free, tolerant society, and I think the conversion therapy Bill should reflect that.:Forbes' comments on "choice" were seized upon by supporters of Yousaf and opposition politicians.

Marco Biagi, an SNP councillor in Edinburgh, said: "What does this 'choice' look like? Probably a gay man who's been closeted for a while, who's internalised messages that gay is harmful or immoral, who wants to be 'normal' so desperately he turns to a counsellor or suchlike who claims that, if he tries hard, it can all go away."Those of us who had a difficult time of accepting ourselves will have, at some point in that process, felt this idea's insidious temptation.

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