Dear Thangam Debbonaire MP,
I am writing to ask for your support in the campaign to ban conversion therapy â€“ an alarmingly widespread practice that seeks to erase, repress, cure or change an individualâ€™s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Conversion therapy is taking place in medical, psychiatric, psychological, religious, and cultural communities.
Figures from the National LGBT Survey found that 7 per cent of LGBT+ people have been offered or undergone conversion therapy, with trans respondents almost twice as likely to have undergone or been offered conversion therapy (13 per cent). Figures also found asexual people to be at a higher risk of being offered or undergoing conversion therapy (10 per cent).
Half of respondents (51 per cent) who had undergone conversion therapy said it had been conducted by faith groups, and one in five (19 per cent) said it had been conducted by healthcare providers or medical professionals.
Right now, the law does not protect your constituents from this harmful practice. And there is no dedicated funding for victim and survivor support, whether through support charities, faith groups or mental health practitioners, to help overcome trauma and rebuild their lives.
Please write to Liz Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, and Kemi Badenoch, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities), and urge them to implement a full legislative ban as detailed below. You could also share your support by recording and sharing a #BanConversionTherapy video on social media, as hundreds of religious leaders have in a powerful show of support.
If we want to eradicate this insidious form of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and acephobic abuse, we need a legislative ban to make conversion therapy illegal:
- Wherever it occurs â€“ Both in public and private spheres; in healthcare, religious, cultural and traditional settings or contexts; and for those who are threatened with being sent overseas to undergo so-called â€œconversion therapyâ€.
- Whoever is targeted â€“ Both children or adults; both those who have been coerced as well as those who have consented; any intervention that has the intention of changing, suppressing, converting or cancelling sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.
- From the moment itâ€™s spotted â€“ Banning the advertisement and promotion of these therapies both online and in public spaces.
Statutory provision of publicly funded specialist support services for current victims and survivors of historical cases is also essential.
I hope I can rely on your support to ban conversion therapy, so that we can continue to progress towards a world where all LGBTQIA+ people can live without shame or fear. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you further and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Dear Bristol West Resident,
Thank you for contacting me about conversion therapy.
I am committed to ensuring that LGBT+ people can live in safety and dignity, and I completely agree with you that LGBT+ conversion therapies must be banned. I firmly believe conversion therapies are exploitative and damaging. Being LGBT+ is a fundamental part of an individualâ€™s identity, and it should never be treated as a sickness. Indeed, all major UK therapy professional bodies and the NHS oppose conversion therapy.
I am very worried about the harm caused to LGBT+ people by these therapies. It is deeply concerning that the Ozanne Foundationâ€™s 2018 Faith & Sexuality Survey found that over 58% of people who had experienced attempts to change their sexual orientation had suffered from mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Worryingly, two-thirds of those who had experienced mental health issues had experienced suicidal thoughts, and nearly a third had attempted suicide.
Conversion therapies must urgently be banned. As I am sure you know, in July 2018, the UK Government committed to bringing forward proposals to end conversion therapy in the UK. I am deeply disappointed that, nearly three years later, we are still waiting.
LGBT+ people are experiencing harms from conversion therapies every day. The longer we wait for action, the longer they are denied legal redress. I firmly believe we need to introduce legislation, such as protection orders for people who are vulnerable to pressure to suppress, deny or forcibly change their sexuality or gender identity. Crucially, introducing legislation to ban conversion therapy would allow statutory services to work together to support people in need.
In March 2021, the UK Government said it will shortly be bringing forward plans to ban conversion therapy. I assure you I will monitor developments on this important issue closely.
More widely, I welcome the fact that Instagram and Facebook have blocked the promotion of conversion therapy on their sites, and I hope other social media companies will follow suit.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.