The Prime Minister has argued it is not “reasonable” for children to make decisions on their gender without parental involvement.
Speaking at a hospital today (6 April), Johnson stated the decision the exclude the transgender community from the ‘conversion therapy’ ban was done to consider the “complexities and sensitivities” of the issue, Sky News reports.
The Prime Minister continued, stating the move would not “diminish our determination to tackle prejudice wherever we can”.
Johnson defended his decision to pull back on the government’s initial ‘conversion therapy’ plans and argued that parents must be involved in a child’s decision to go ahead with “irreversible treatments”.
“I don’t think that it’s reasonable for kids to be deemed so-called Gillick-competent to make decisions about their gender or irreversible treatments that they may have. I think there should be parental involvement at the very least,” he said.
The medical term “Gillick competence” refers to a child’s ability to give full consent to a procedure such as changing gender.
On 31 March, it was revealed the government was no longer planning to introduce a ban on ‘conversion therapy’, according to documents obtained by ITV News.
‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, often involving techniques such as electroshock therapy or prayer.
Immense backlash followed the government’s ‘conversion therapy’ U-turn and it was soon reported that Downing Street would be enforcing a ‘conversion therapy’ ban, but it would not protect transgender people.
“The Prime Minister has changed his mind off the back of the reaction to our report and he WILL now ban conversion therapy after all,” said Paul Brand of ITV News.
The government’s inconsistent plan to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ has resulted in more than 100 LGBTQ+ organisations dropping out of the government’s Safe to Be Me conference.
Earlier this week, Iain Anderson resigned from his role as the government’s LGBTQ+ Business Champion because of its stance on a trans ‘conversion therapy’ ban.
Yesterday (5 April), Health Secretary Sajid Javid agreed on the new ‘conversion therapy’ plans saying “we need to be more careful” when it comes to supporting the needs of transgender people.
The Health Secretary’s comments come out in support of the government and Boris Johnson’s newly announced move to exclude trans people from a ‘conversion therapy’ ban.
The MP elaborated, stating it is “absolutely right” for ‘conversion therapy’ to be banned “for LGB people”, but stressed that a “more sensitive approach” will be needed for transgender people.
A 2017 government national LGBT survey revealed that five per cent of LGBT people have been offered ‘conversion therapy’, and two per cent have undergone it.