Gay ‘cure’ therapy is harmful says UK government

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller has responded to a parliamentary question on gay conversion therapy by instructing Health Minister Norman Lamb to outline the government’s official position.

It was after Diane Johnson, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull North, asked Mrs Miller for her views on the subject in reference to counsellors and psychotherapists who have sought to provide the discredited medical practice.

In response, the Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb said: “The Department of Health does not condone the concept of therapists offering ‘cures’ for homosexuality. There is no evidence that this sort of treatment is beneficial and indeed it may well cause significant harm, to some patients.

“It is incumbent on professionals working in the National Health Service to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination”.

Mr Lamb continued: “If someone is suffering a mental health problem, clinicians will try to help patients with whatever is causing them distress. This could involve helping someone come to terms with their sexuality, family arguments over their sexuality, or hostility from other people.

“We know from research that the incidence of depression, anxiety and suicide within the gay community is significantly higher than within the heterosexual community and this is why ‘No health without mental health’ identifies lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a specific group for whom a tailored approach to their mental health is necessary.”

“No health without mental health” is the government’s mental health strategy that was launched in February 2011.

Last month, Lesley Pilkington, the Christian psychotherapist who was found to be providing gay conversion therapy, was finally struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

She was initially found guilty of malpractice by the BACP in July 2011, following an undercover investigation by the journalist Patrick Strudwick, but had subsequently appealed the decision.

Earlier this year, former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe backed the right of therapists to offer ‘gay cure’ treatments to clients who want to become straight.