An online campaign urging UK MPs to attend the second reading of a so-called ‘conversion therapy’ ban bill has a month to go until its deadline.
Taking place on 1 March, the second reading of a private members bill to ban the harmful practice was brought forward by Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven.
Russell-Moyle was one of many non-governmental MPs who, through a lottery system, were selected to introduce the bill.
Stonewall, an LGBTQIA+ rights charity in the UK, has created a petition to show their support of the draft bill and encourage constituents to write to urge their MPs to attend the second reading and vote.
The Labour MP “decided to bring forward a bill on Conversion Practices. These are practices which aim to change someone’s sexual orientation or change someone from or to being transgender,“ he explained in a statement.
The draft bill (as of 23 January) was written in collaboration with “10 Conservative MPs, including the chairs of three select committees.”
A ‘conversion therapy’ ban was first promised six years ago by the UK government under the leadership of former Prime Minister Theresa May. However, after a back-and-forth narrative the ban has yet to come into fruition. The ban had previously been promised during the Queen’s speech in May 2022, yet was not delivered.
Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, pledged to include the ban as a draft bill in the King’s Speech last November.
The bill would have criminalised “coercive” practices that attempt to change someone’s sexuality and gender, and unlike previous iterations, a ban on transgender conversion therapy.
Unfortunately, there was no mention of a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ made in the King’s Speech on 7 November.
Jayne Ozanne, who chairs the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition, told GAY TIMES that “we are now witnessing the serious rollback on rights and protections that many have feared and which caused me to resign as a Government Adviser in 2021.”
“To break your flagship promise to a community that has seen a significant rise in hate crime is a total moral failure,” said Ozanne.
“To do so after five years of posturing, with minimal engagement with victims of ‘conversion therapy’, shows just how callously the government treats LGBT+ lives.
“The government has chosen to prioritise appeasing perpetrators, condemning many to untold abuse that is now sanctioned by the State.
“The Prime Minister’s failure to act will be remembered for years to come, it will take generations for LGBT+ people to trust his party again – indeed I know many in Britain will now clearly see just how he treats marginalised communities in his care.”
The synopsis for Stonewall’s call-to-action reads: “LGBTQ+ people have nothing to be ashamed of an there is nothing wrong or broken about who we our. Our sexual orientations and gender identities are diverse and should be celebrated.
“Since the UK Government failed to fulfil its promise to ban this abusive practice, parliamentarians from across parties have been rallying to bring forward the legislation themselves.”