YouTube [CNN]

The UK government has finally responded to a petition calling for trans people to be protected by its restrictions on so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

As of 13 May, the petition has more than 144,000 signatures and is the third most-signed open one on the government’s official website.

At 10,000 signatures, the government was obligated to issue a response to it, which the Cabinet Office finally did on 13 May.

The message acknowledged the “long-lasting harm” caused by the practice, though confirmed that the new legislation will not protect the entire LGBTQ+ community.

“We are committed to banning these abhorrent practices by introducing an offence that protects children and those that are unwillingly subjected to talking conversion practices, as well as by strengthening provisions against physical conversion practices,” the response stated.

“We will bring forward a ban that protects everyone from attempts to change their sexual orientation. There are different considerations when it comes to transgender conversion therapy and the Government remains committed to exploring these.

“One of the complexities is that those who experience gender dysphoria may seek talking therapy. It is vital that legitimate support is not inadvertently impacted.”

Plans to launch a “support service” for victims who endure the practice were also confirmed, with a “contracted helpline and website” set to launch at some point.

“We continue to engage with stakeholders from LGBT, faith and medical backgrounds to ensure that our proposals and services are effective and well understood,” the government added.

“We will bring forward a ban that protects everyone from attempts to change their sexual orientation as soon as parliamentary time allows. We remain committed to exploring how best to protect people from these practices and will provide further updates in due course.”

The petition came after widespread outrage at the government’s U-turns on a comprehensive ‘conversion therapy’ ban, which has now resulted in a watered down version of what was originally promised.

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, criticised the government for “flip-flopping” and said ‘conversion therapy’ should be banned “in all its forms”.

This is a developing story. More to follow.