Five years since the UK government first promised to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’, dozens of LGBTQ+ organisations, survivors and support providers are calling on it to finally make its pledge a reality.
Among them are Stonewall, the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition, Galop, Pride in London and Tonic Housing. In a joint letter sent to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, and Minister for Equalities, Stuart Andrew, the coalition urged the government to “publish the long-awaited legislation to ban conversion practices for all LGBTQ+ people in the UK”.
On 17 January, a spokesperson for the government said a draft bill would soon be published before going through “pre legislative scrutiny in this parliamentary session” – though this is yet to happen. “We have been given repeated assurances that your Government is working ‘at pace’ to bring forward this legislation, but we still have not seen a draft Bill,” the letter continued. “It has been an exceptionally long road, with unexplained delays in both the publication of the Government’s research as well as the results from your public consultation.” READ MORE: MPs call on government to protect trans people in heated ‘conversion therapy’ ban debate The signatories added that the delays “only serve to embolden perpetrators and result in ongoing harm to many LGBT+ people”. “We are perplexed by these continued delays and can only conclude that your Government is reluctant to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society from this abuse,” part of the letter said. ‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing or suppressing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, often involving techniques such as