Backbench MPs from multiple political parties have worked together to draft legislation that would ban all forms of so-called ‘conversion therapy’.
According to ITV News, the bill will “prohibit practices whose predetermined purpose is to change or suppress a person’s sexuality, or change or suppress a person to or from being transgender.”
It is set to be introduced in the House of Commons on 6 December.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle drafted the legislation, with nine Conservative MPs supporting it.
These include Caroline Nokes, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, and Alicia Kearns, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, both of which have been very vocal about their desire to see ‘conversion therapy’ outlawed.
It won’t be voted on until at least March and is expected to have the support of opposition parties such as the Liberal Democrats and Labour.
Bills introduced by backbench MPs are known as private members bills, though only a minority become law as they typically require the support of government to get through the many parliamentary hurdles that exist.
“Nothing should get in the way of protecting young LGBT+ lives”
Campaigners have already expressed their optimism about the prospect of ‘conversion therapy’ finally being banned in the wake of this drafted legislation.
Jayne Ozanne, who chairs the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition and resigned from the government’s LGBT advisory panel two years ago after accusing it of creating a hostile environment for the community, said: “I am so grateful to Lloyd Russell-Moyle for tabling this critically important Private Members Bill and to the large number of Tory MPs who have decided to stand tall and defy their government’s inaction.
“It is, I think, unprecedented for the Chair of the Women & Equalities Select Committee, Caroline Nokes MP, to agree to co-sponsor a Labour MP’s bill, a fact that I hope the Prime Minister will carefully reflect on.
“Nothing should get in the way of protecting young LGBT+ lives, as these MPs all know.”
The government has been promising a ban since 2018
Promise of a ban was recently omitted from the King’s Speech, despite previously being included in two Queen’s Speeches.
‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing or suppressing a person’s sexuality or gender identity and often involves techniques such as intensive prayer and, in some cases, electroshock therapy.
A commitment to banning it was first made by Theresa May’s administration in 2018, with the exact form the legislation will take being the subject of intense debate in the UK since then.
Boris Johnson’s government made a number of backtracks to these promises, previously resulting in fear from the LGBTQIA+ community that the legislation would not include protections for all, something that led to thousands protesting outside Downing Street.