Suella Braverman calls for a ‘total’ ban on transitioning for under-18s

Former home secretary Suella Braverman has called for a ban on transitioning for under-18s during a parliamentary debate on conversion therapy.

During a parliamentary debate discussing a potential ban on LGBTQ+ conversion therapy on Friday (1 March), Braverman claimed she would be “criminalised” for discussing her views on the trans community with her children, adding that transitioning should be banned for those under 18.

A ban on conversion therapy was first proposed by former prime minister Theresa May six years ago, with debate continuing to rage over whether legislation would protect trans people as well as LGB people.

Suella Braverman claimed during the debate that trans people should not be protected by such a ban, as she would be “criminalised” for teaching her children that “a man cannot be a woman”.

“If I were in the position of having a child presenting anxiety, my own child presenting questions like this, I would want to support them, I’d want them to be happy but I’d also want to direct them in the way I knew best, consistent with my parental authority, educating and teaching them about gender and sex,” she said.

“In my view, in our household, in my family, we believe that a man cannot be a woman, a boy cannot be a girl and that is what I would be telling my children, with the best intentions and from a place of love.

“And if that were to criminalise me… that would be a crying shame and a total undermining of good parenting in this country.”

Two people stand side by side during an LGBTQ+ rights protest to ban conversion therapy. One person holds up a sign reading 'queerness doesn't need a cure'
In 2018, prime minister Theresa May promised to ban conversion therapy in the UK. It’s 2024, and such legislation has yet to be passed. (Getty)

The bill aimed at banning LGBTQ+ conversion therapy failed to move through parliament after the debate on Friday ran out of time, with some MPs accused of “filibustering” the bill to ensure its failure.

The legislation on Friday was a Private Member’s Bill put forward by Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, meaning MPs were only given a set amount of time to debate it.

Several MPs spoke out in opposition of banning the abhorrent practice, with Labour MP Rosie Duffield claiming lesbians “are pressurised into dating so-called ‘lesbians with a penis’, in other words, men”. She also claimed the bill would criminalise someone “stopping their daughter from cutting off her healthy breasts as a teenager”.

Fellow Labour MP Kate Osborne tweeted after the debate: “Disgusting and so upsetting to be sat in chamber listening to MPs filibuster and ensured that bill to #BanConversionTherapy will not progress.

“It’s a betrayal of #LGBTQ community and young people who will still face this abhorrent cruel practice. I will keep fighting for a full ban.”