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Conversion 'therapy' ban

LGBTQIA+ people do not need to be ‘cured’. Conversion ‘therapy’ is harmful and can negatively impact on a person’s mental health. We’ve responded to the UK Government’s consultation on conversion ‘therapy’, calling for an outright ban of these abhorrent practices.

About conversion practices

Conversion practices aim to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The aim is to ‘cure’ someone from being LGBTQIA+. These practices can include formal sessions that present themselves as 'therapy'. But more often they can be more subtle, such as faith groups giving advice on how to not act on sexual orientation. There can also be more extreme practices such as physical and sexual violence, or exorcisms.

All forms of conversion practices can result in poor mental health. Those who have experienced conversion practices have reported having suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and feelings of guilt, shame and self-hatred.

Yet conversion practices are still legal and still happening in the UK today.

The UK Government’s own research has found 7% of LGBTQIA+ people have been offered or undergone conversion practices. This needs to stop.

The Government’s consultation on banning conversion ‘therapy’

In October 2021, the Government opened a public consultation on their proposed legislation for banning conversion therapy. This came three years after Theresa May’s Government first promised to eradicate the ‘abhorrent’ practice.

Mind has responded to the consultation, as we fully support a ban on conversion practices. LGBTQIA+ people do not need to be ‘cured’. We reject the term ‘conversion therapy’ as we do not believe these practices are in any way therapeutic.

The Government’s proposed legislation had a few worrying loopholes or issues we wanted to be addressed, including:

  • Allowing ‘consenting’ adults to consent to conversion therapy

  • Allowing conversion practices within religious and faith-based settings to continue, including prayer and scripture readings to convert someone’s sexual orientation and gender identity

  • Not including asexual, bisexual, intersex or nonbinary people in the ban

  • Not covering attempts to ‘suppress’ as well as change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read our response

The Government's U-turn and our next steps

We are disappointed with the Government’s recent U-turn to exclude trans people from the conversion ‘therapy’ ban. This has come despite their own research finding that trans people are more likely to have undergone or been offered conversion ‘therapy’. Mind responded to the U-turn and called on the Government to include trans people.

Read Mind’s statement on the Government’s U-turn

We have a lot to do to ensure all LGBTQIA+ people are protected from this ban, including trans people. We are also looking to clarify legal definitions of conversion therapy, the proposed criminal sanctions and what support people need if they have been offered or undergone conversion practices. We will be working with people with lived experience to influence the passage of the Bill through parliament.

If you’d like to find out more about this work, please get in touch at [email protected]

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