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MPs call on UK government to fulfil promise of full ‘conversion therapy’ ban

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Cross-party MPs called on the government to finally ban ‘conversion therapy’ for all nearly five years after it first pledged to do so.

During a Women and Equalities question session in Parliament on 30 November, a number of MPs questioned the lack of action. A ban on the harmful practice was first promised by Theresa May’s government in 2018, but has yet to be enacted. “Every day the secretary of state delays this bill, LGBT individuals can be subject to this abhorrent and deeply damaging conversion therapy,” said Labour MP Nia Griffith. “It has now been 8 months and 4 years since the government first promised a ban. “So I beg the secretary of state to bring forward a bill as soon as possible.” Boris Johnson did announce plans to move forward with the ban whilst he was prime minister, but numerous U-turns resulted in widespread protests after it was revealed that his updated plans excluded trans and non-binary people.

A petition demanding trans people are included reached 150,000 signatures, triggering a debate in Parliament. SNP MP Kirsten Oswald also made clear her support for a comprehensive ban on the practice, sharing that 11% of trans people are subject to it.

She added: “Individuals who are subjected to those practices are significantly more likely to have attempted suicide than their peers…I’m disappointed in what I’ve heard today.” Conservative MP Peter Gibson echoed the other MPs’ sentiments and asked: “Does my right honourable friend understand the anxiety by the LGBT community when it comes to this ban?” ‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing or suppressing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, often involving techniques such as electroshock therapy or prayer.

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