Conversion therapy to be banned in the UK – Megan B

Conversion therapy attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is used as a form of suppression for those that are gay or of a certain gender. Many of these victims do not enter into this process alone, with coercive family members, friends or religious groups pressuring them into becoming what they feel is ‘normal’.

Yet, the government has taken its time over implementing this ban with the first conversations being had in 2018 under Theresa May’s government, and now they have decided to undergo several consultations before the law changes, despite the ban being announced in the Queen’s Speech last Tuesday.

Jayne Ozanne, a former government equality advisor who had undergone conversion therapy herself, agreed that quicker action needed to be taken and said that we need “action that will protect young and old LGBT people right now” in a BBC interview.

But why is it taking so long for this act to be banned? Hundreds of health professionals have come forward and said that the process of conversion therapy is “unethical and potentially harmful” to all those who undergo it, yet it has taken over three years for any kind of progress to be made.

A BBC survey showed that out of the 108,000 people involved, over 5% had been offered conversion therapy and 2% had experienced it. Overall, conversion therapy is more common in religious forms and more than half of those in the survey who had experienced conversion therapy first-hand had received it from some form of faith group. Yet, some denominations such as the Church of England have commented on how conversion practices have “no place in the modern world”.

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However, some forms of conversion therapy have been made illegal already which can be seen as a significant improvement to societal views of the LGBT community. Fortunately, forms of this therapy such as ‘corrective rape’ are illegal.

Some mental health professionals have expressed concerns over being accused of of conversion therapy if they offer help to young people with their gender identity. Yet, many still agree that the ban will provide the necessary protection for those in the LGBT community within the UK.

Countries such as Canada, Malta, Germany and America have introduced a full or partial ban of conversion therapy paving the way for other countries to become more accepting of those that are considered to be ‘different’ and to develop the ideas of equality within their individual countries.

We are all born equal, it’s the way society decides to treat people that creates inequality. As a fan of Glee and the messages it includes, Chris Colfer (who plays Kurt – a lovable gay best friend) later stated that “there’s nothing wrong with you. There’s a lot wrong with the world you live in”.

If you personally are struggling or are worried about someone else who is struggling with their identity then please let a health professional know to allow you or someone else to get help and the necessary advice.

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