Christian Wakeford, Labour MP for Bury South, has once again spoken out about the need to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for all LGBTQIA+ people.
Last month, MPs debated how such practices could be outlawed, as well as what the legislation would entail in effect.
The discussion swiftly descended into discourse surrounding gender-affirming care, though Wakeford continuously emphasised that “there is no place” for ‘conversion therapy’ “in any part of society”.
Speaking to GAY TIMES after the debate on 6 December, Wakeford affirmed that a full and comprehensive ban is “more timely than ever”.
“We’ve seen hate crime towards the community increase exponentially just this year, so I think it’s incredibly timely that we’re having it,” he said.
“But again, it’s the same voices having the same arguments that we’ve had for however many years we’ve been here now.”
A commitment to banning ‘conversion therapy’ 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 on promises that had been made, 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 in 2022.
Commitment to a ban was also recently omitted from the King’s Speech, despite previously being included in two Queen’s Speeches.
“It needs stamping out across all of society”
Wakeford explained that MPs need to give the LGBTQIA+ community “hope that something is actually being done about it” after years of U-turns and delays, as well as debate around whether or not a ban should be inclusive of trans people.
“If it’s abhorrent and evil for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, then it’s evil and abhorrent for anyone,” he continued.
“So, to try and conflate issues of gender-blocking drugs, as we’ve seen in the debate today, it’s trying to create a separate argument and trying to find a way out of it.
“So I think, no, if it’s evil and abhorrent then it needs stamping out across all of society.”
‘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.
Towards the end of last year, backbench MPs from several parties drafted legislation to outlaw the practice after frustration that the government had failed to do so.
Drafted by Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, it has the support of nine Conservatives, including Alicia Kearns and Caroline Nokes.
It will be voted on this year.