Scots TUC supports Labour MP’s campaign to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy

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A campaign by Labour MP Geraint Davies to ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy has received a boost after the Scottish Trade Union Congress endorsed the MP’s bill.

The union passed the motion last weekend in favour of banning the therapy at a special meeting of their LGBT members.

The motion committed the Scots TUC to supporting Labour MP Geraint Davies’ call for statuary regulation of psychotherapists.

He has tabled a bill which will receive its second reading in June.

Campaigners warn at present there is no legal requirement preventing psychotherapists who believe it’s possible to ‘cure’ a person’s sexual orientation from being able to operate.

Mr Davies wants the NHS only to use therapists who are signed up to professional bodies opposed to ‘conversion’ therapies.

The MP for Swansea West said: “I’m pleased that the Scottish TUC conference voted to support my bill to ban the abhorrent practice of LGBT conversion therapy. This so-called treatment is completely unwarranted as being LGBT is not a disease and it does immense harm to patients, causing depression, isolation and even suicide. It has no place in a civilised society and it’s high time that it was wiped out for good.

He continued “The Scottish TUC is just one of many supporters of my bill along with health professionals, patient safety groups and MPs from across the House of Commons. Given the strength of support it’s completely unbelievable that Norman Lamb and the government still refuse to take this problem seriously by regulating to ban conversion therapy.”

Ross McGhee, who proposed the motion at the conference, added: “As a health professional myself I am passionate about patient centred-care and if I knew that anyone under my care had been subjected to an unregulated practice I would be deeply troubled. Offering gay conversion therapy and suggesting homosexuality is a disease lends credence to homophobes. It must be stopped now.”

Last month, the Department of Health reaffirmed that it had no intention of introducing statutory regulation for psychotherapists.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “NHS funded therapies are provided for those who need them to help them manage a psychological problem.

“This could include people coming to terms with their sexuality. This is absolutely not the same as gay-to-straight “conversion” therapy, which we strongly oppose.

“Being gay is not an illness and it should never be treated as something which is curable, which is why we are proactively exploring ways of ensuring that ‘conversion’ therapy can never be funded by public money.”

Health Minister Norman Lamb told MPs last year that gay-to-straight conversion therapy is “utterly abhorrent” but that the government remains opposed to the statutory regulation of psychotherapists on the grounds of cost.

In April, Mr Lamb wrote to NHS England asking for assurances that GPs are not referring gay people for conversion therapy.