Liz Truss will ‘shortly’ bring forward plans to end traumatising conversion therapy after two years of delay

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UK equalities minster Liz Truss has responded to demands that she finally ban conversion therapy, saying she will “shortly be bringing forward plans” to end the horrific and traumatising practice. 

So-called gay conversion therapy is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

All major UK health organisations have denounced the practice as damaging pseudoscience, yet while the Tories pledged to “eradicate” the cruel and traumatic practice two years ago, there has been no measurable progress. 

On May 29 officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global LGBT+ Rights called for Truss to take “urgent action” against the harmful practice, but her response remained vague.

In a letter to Crispin Blunt MP, chair of the APPG, Truss wrote: “I welcome the group’s strong support for this Government’s commitment to end the vile practice of so-called conversion therapy.

“I fundamentally disagree with attempts to forcibly change someone’s sexuality and I will shortly be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy.

“I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you and members of the APPG and have asked my office to make arrangements for this to happen.”

Liz Truss says UK conversion therapy ban wouldn’t block LGBT+ people ‘from seeking spiritual support’.

Truss said that there were certain horrifying practices associated with conversion therapy, for example ‘corrective’ rape, which were already against the law.

Where such practices are already unlawful,” she said, “we will ensure the law is clear, well-understood and enforced.”

“Where dangerous conversion therapy practices are not already unlawful, I am examining the best ways to prevent them being conducted, without sending such practices underground.”

She insisted that any UK conversion therapy law would not “prevent LGBT+ people from seeking spiritual support from their faith leader in the exploration of their sexual orientation”.

Truss said she was “closely following” conversion therapy bans in countries which the UK is shamefully lagging behind, like Albania and Germany.
She finished: “Ensuring all citizens feel safe and protected from harm should be a fundamental principle of any government. That is why we are acting to end conversion therapy for good.”

It is scandalous that harmful quack therapies are still being allowed.

Iconic LGBT+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell recently told Gay Times that conversion therapy was one of the “most concerning” issues for LGBT+ rights in the UK, and that the other was Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform.

He said: “There are two big issues: the government’s failure to honour its commitments to outlaw gay conversion therapy and to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

“It is scandalous that harmful quack therapies are still being allowed and that trans people are not accorded the dignity of self-defining their gender identity.”

In the last month, statements by Truss on GRA reform have been protested by tens of thousands of people, provoked concern from the official LGBT+ group of every UK political party, and caused alarm among parents of trans youth.

The alarm has focused on Truss’s comments regarding access to healthcare for trans youth and trans women’s access to single-sex spaces, neither of which are currently covered by the GRA.