MPs will debate an e-petition that is in favour of banning conversion therapy practices on March 8.
Next week’s debate will be led by Conservative MP and Petitions Committee member Elliot Colburn.
The e-petition is calling for a ban on conversion therapy practises in the UK and currently has 256,392 signatures. The petition is advocating to make “conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence”.
Alongside the main call for banning conversion therapy, the petition urges the UK government to enforce policies to prevent the practice from continuing outside of a ban.
The petition emphasises the need to make forced attendance at conversion therapy a criminal offence. It also requests to outlaw the ability to send individuals abroad to receive conversion therapy. Lastly, the petition urges Parliament to “protect individuals from conversion therapy”.
In May 2020, the Government issued a response to the LGBTQ+ petition: “The Government is committed to ensuring all citizens feel safe and protected from harm.
“We will work to deepen our understanding and consider all options for ending the practice of conversion therapy.”
While the government deems practises such as conversion therapy and ‘corrective’ rape as ‘abhorrent and violent’, it has been over 1,000 days since Former Prime Minister Theresa May promised to act upon a conversion therapy ban in the 2018 LGBTQ+ Action Plan.
Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to ‘erase, repress, cure or change’ someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through forms psychological and physical methods.
At its most extreme, it involves shock therapy where LGBTQ+ people are subjected to jolts of electricity while watching scenes of same-sex affection.
Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive of the Stonewall charity has condemned the government’s delay in implementing a ban: “Being LGBTQIA+ is beautiful, and there is no place in our society for any so-called ‘interventions’ which tell us otherwise.
“The UK Government must stop dragging its feet and make good on its promise to bring in a full legal ban, and put a stop to conversion therapy in the UK for good.”
Last July, an open letter was sent to Boris Johnson and Downing Street calling for a full ban on gay ‘conversion therapy’ for all LGBTQ+ people in the UK, which has attracted the support of numerous celebrities.
The letter, backed by Elton John, Stephen Fry, Dua Lipa, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall, Stonewall, Mermaids, The Ozanne Foundation, Amnesty UK, Gendered Intelligence, All-Out and many others were sent to Downing Street and Equalities Minister, Liz Truss.
You can watch the debate on banning conversion therapy in the UK at 6:15 PM, Monday 8 March, from here.