Hollyoaks is set to explore the harmful effects of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in an upcoming storyline.
David Ames, who recently joined the cast of the Channel 4 soap as Carter Shepherd, was hired specifically for it.
As viewers know, his character moved to the village with darker ulterior motives than those around him know.
In his role as headmaster of a local school, Carter has already befriended John Paul McQueen (James Sutton) and started offering him self-growth sessions.
However, it has now been confirmed that his true intentions will be made known in episodes airing later this autumn, when he uses the influence he has garnered as an apparent guru/life coach on Lucas Hay (Oscar Curtis).
John Paul and Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) will be heavily involved in the storyline as the former couple support each other as Lucas explores his sexuality and begins falling for Dillon Ray (Nathaniel Dass).
“I’m incredibly proud to portray this story for Hollyoaks and Channel 4,” David told Metro. “It’s an incredibly moving and difficult story to tell.
“There is so much shame and fear involved. Conversion therapy is abhorrent so it’s an incredible challenge to take a side I don’t fall on and to illustrate the dangers of how all too easily these archaic stances can destroy lives.”
The government has been promising to ban ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK since 2018
‘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.
It has been widely condemned by health experts and bodies all over the world, including the National Health Service and the World Health Organisation, with some comparing it to torture.
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, resulting in fear from the LGBTQ+ community that the legislation would not include protections for all.
The draft bill was said to cover attempts to change both someone’s sexuality and gender identity – though campaigners remain concerned that the ‘consent’ loophole makes the legislation redundant.
Recent developments, however, have left campaigners concerned that no ban will ever materialise under Rishi Sunak’s leadership.