A new survey was launched this week on the official House of Commons Twitter account asking: “Should it be made illegal? What would that mean to you?”
A citizen petition has been running on the UK Government and Parliament website calling for a legal ban on ‘conversion therapy’ and has gathered over 185,000 signatures at the time of writing. It is currently the No.1 most popular on the site.
In response, the House of Commons decided to issue a survey asking if the dangerous practice of ‘conversion therapy’ should be made illegal, when we all already know what the answer to that question is.
The reaction to the survey and tweet was overwhelmingly negative, and the House of Commons Twitter account was forced to delete the post.
We have deleted a tweet about a petition relating to #conversiontherapy that caused offence. We apologise.
Our intention was to provide a platform for people to share their opinions with the Petitions Committee, and inform its case to the Government. Clearly we misjudged this. pic.twitter.com/kz4zpKUtrP
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) July 3, 2020
This comes a month after equalities minister Kemi Badenoch issued a statement which claimed banning gay ‘conversion therapy’ is a “very complex issue”.
“Before any decision is made on proposals for ending conversion therapy we must understand the problem, the range of options available and the impact they would have” said Badenoch.
It would seem that ‘understanding the problem’ to our government means launching a survey that asks only the following tone deaf questions:
How does conversion therapy affect the LGBTQ+ community?
Should the practice be made illegal? What would it mean to you?
How should ‘conversion therapy’ be defined?
It reveals that in spite of copious existing research, the UK Government still doesn’t understand how deeply ‘conversion therapy’ psychologically harms those subjected to it. There is no question around whether or not it should be made illegal – the only answer is yes, it should.
Laura Russell, director of campaigns, policy, and research at Stonewall recently told The Independent “Any form of ‘therapy’ that attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity is unethical and wrong,”
“Conversion therapies have been condemned by all major UK health organisations as they try to shame a person into denying a core part of who they are, and this can have a seriously harmful impact on their mental health and wellbeing.”
This survey can only be viewed as a hollow attempt at inclusivity, given that the public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act was cast aside over fears it received too many responses from pro-trans organisations. In other words – too many people responded to the survey in a manner that didn’t satisfy the government’s preferred stance.
The consultation on whether to change the laws around self-identification for trans and non-binary people was launched by former Prime Minister Theresa May and received over 100,000 responses, with 70% of those in favour of allowing self-identification.
Following the release of the survey over 1,700 responses were posted under the official tweet, mostly in outrage:
Nothing says 'pride month's over' more than the official HoC account immediately suggesting that conversion therapy is up for debate & maybe a petition would help
— It Was Gabatha All Along (@Scriblit) July 3, 2020
You cannot put Alan Turing on your money and have conversion therapy still be practiced in this country.
It is torture.
Torture that drives people to suicide.
This is not a debate.
— Vicki Emily Evans (@vickiemilyevans) July 3, 2020
"How does being systematically tortured, shamed, gaslit and brainwashed affect the LGBTQ community?"
— Bryn (@brynismyname) July 3, 2020
For too long the UK Government have been issuing false promises of progress when it comes to laws and issues that affect LGBTQ+ people.
The community doesn’t want another survey. It wants positive, decisive action.