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Conversion 'therapy' ban

LGBTQIA+ people don't need to be ‘cured’. Conversion ‘therapy’ is harmful and can negatively impact a person’s mental health. We’re calling for an outright ban of these abhorrent practices. Find out what we're fighting for on this page.

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. But more often, they can be more subtle, like faith groups giving advice on how to not act on sexual orientation. There can also be more extreme practices, like 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 government’s own research found 7% of LGBTQIA+ people have been offered or undergone conversion practices. This needs to stop.

What are the government doing about it?

In October 2021, the government opened a public consultation on proposed legislation to ban conversion 'therapy'. This came 3 years after they first promised to eradicate it.

Mind has responded to the consultation. We fully support a ban on conversion practices. We reject the term ‘conversion therapy’ as we don't believe these practices are in any way therapeutic.

The government’s proposed legislation had a few worrying loopholes and issues. These include:

  • 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’ or change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity

Our research on conversion 'therapy'

In 2021 and 2022, we talked to people about their experiences of conversion practices and the impact of this on their mental health. We also spoke to staff in our local Mind network who offer support and services for LGBTQIA+ people.

Our report includes quotes from the people who talked to us. They gave us permission to share their words and stories. We hope this will strengthen calls for a comprehensive ban that protects all LGBTQIA+ people.

Read our report

How you can help us

In January 2023, the government announced plans to publish a Bill implementing a fully inclusive ban on conversion practices.

We still have a long way to go to before an effective ban is in place, and we have lots to do to make sure all LGBTQIA+ people are protected. We still need clarification around:

  • The legal definitions of conversion therapy
  • The proposed criminal sanctions
  • What support people need if they've been offered or gone through conversion practices

If you'd like to help us in our work, you can become a Mind campaigner. As a campaigner, you'll be part of a powerful movement fighting for mental health.

Become a campaigner

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