Rishi Sunak slammed in postcard campaign for taking holiday instead of passing conversion therapy ban

Stonewall conversion therapy postcard

Stonewall has launched a new postcard campaign, lambasting prime minister Rishi Sunak over the UK government’s continued delay in banning conversion therapy. 

While Sunak continues his family holiday in California, the LGBTQ+ charity’s campaign is calling on the PM to take action and ban conversion therapy, with countless LGBTQ+ people “enduring abuse and suffering”.

A draft bill that would’ve moved forward the long-waited ban has been sitting on Sunak’s desk for weeks, awaiting his sign-off.

It’s understood the bill contains a loophole for “consenting adults”, despite experts and advocates warning the government that such a clause could render the legislation useless.

The term conversion therapy refers to efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in a bid to “cure” them. 

Stonewall’s campaign encourages supporters to add a message to one of four postcards designed with holiday themes, which the charity will send to Downing Street in a bid to finally end the five-year wait to “ban the horrific practice”.

You may like to watch

The postcard designs highlight the perils of conversion therapy, with one saying, “Abuse doesn’t take a summer break”. Another reads: “Hope you’re having a nice summer holiday, Rishi… but we are still waiting for action”. 

Ban Conversion Therapy Postcards
Stonewall’s postcard campaign protests Rishi Sunak’s California holiday while a bill that could end the suffering of LGBTQ+ people remains untouched on his desk. (Stonewall)

The Conservative government first promised a ban in 2018 under Theresa May’s leadership, but despite her insistence on trans-inclusive legislation, Boris Johnson later opted to push forward with a law that only protected gay, lesbian and bisexual people from the barbaric practice.

The government has vowed that draft legislation – including protection for trans people – will be published this year.

Of the more more than 1.5 million people in England and Wales who identified as LGBTQ+ in the 2021 sensus, around seven per cent have undergone, or been offered, conversion therapy.

Robbie de Santos, the director of communications and external affairs at Stonewall, urged the government to take “decisive action” to protect the LGBTQ+ community from the practice, which he said has already “scarred generations”. 

He added: “California, where the prime minister is currently on holiday, has already taken action to ban conversion therapy, as have countries such as New Zealand, Canada and Ireland – countries that the UK would like to consider its peers on human rights issues.

“The 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people in England and Wales should not be left looking at these places and thinking ‘I wish I was there’.”

Sunak was also criticised last month for sharing support for same-sex marriage, despite the fact he has never voted for it.

And, in June, a group of cross-bench MPs criticised him for comments in a video shared with PinkNews where he was heard to mock trans women.