Human Rights Minister: ‘Gay cure therapies are torture’

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A senior Conservative politician has claimed that gay ‘conversion therapies’ are a form of torture.

In an exclusive interview with PinkNews, Foreign and Commonwealth minister, Baroness Anelay, said that the use of treatments to try and change someone’s sexual orientation is “repulsive”.

Human Rights Minister: ‘Gay cure therapies are torture’

When discussing historic therapies, Lady Anelay, said: “I just find the whole thing very uncomfortable and very repulsive.

“I think that one of the most important things over the last ten years has been governments of all persuasions, Labour and Conservative, working with the Liberal Democrats party, to look again at what society considers to be mental illness, mental incapacity and quite simply, society changes.

“I think the important thing is that we try to explain overseas that you do not change people’s behaviour about their sexuality by subjecting them to what is torture.”

Baroness Anelay was responding to a speech delivered by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who said ‘gay cure’ therapies should be stamped out in the UK.

When discussing the issue of LGBT criminalisation in other Commonwealth countries, the Conservative politician said that Britain had a unique role in influencing other nations.

She said: “We have a special place in one way because we started the Commonwealth and it can be a disadvantage because then countries say ‘you would say that wouldn’t you because you think you can tell us what to do’, so we have to bear that in mind.

“We are one voice, we are not the main voice or the only voice, but it’s important to break that silence there too and therefore when there are meetings of the Commonwealth like CHOGM [sic: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting], when there are meetings between ministers and and other ministers from the Commonwealth – I think it’s important to raise these issues.

“Megaphone diplomacy rarely works, we are very good at constant, calm, determined persuasion. When I can meet ministers from the Commonwealth, I say I would like to raise issues about diversity to people.”

Adding to this, the minister also said that it was possible to trade with nations that repress LGBT rights, such as Saudi Arabia, because this could help to improve human rights in the country.

“It is possible to do both, but you have to do it understanding that you are going to have setbacks along the way,” she said.

“And it’s important, this is part of the quiet diplomacy but the strong diplomacy. It is important to be consistent in what one’s aims are. And that we can do.

“I think it’s one of the old arguments. If you didn’t do trade with any country who didn’t adhere to all your norms you wouldn’t do any trade at all. What you can do is to use your respective contacts with other countries to be able to be respected for what your views are.

“So we can use our quiet but determined diplomacy to achieve matters that perhaps otherwise we wouldn’t and that’s what the foreign secretary and other ministers here very much try to do.”