What’s going on with the ‘conversion therapy’ ban?

COMMENT

By Simon Calvert, Deputy Director (Public Affairs)

We’ve been keeping you informed about proposals to ban ‘conversion therapy’ since 2020. The issue exploded into the headlines recently when it emerged Boris Johnson was preparing to drop the plans.

A leaked government memo showed that he and his advisors were convinced by arguments we’ve been making: that LGBT people are already protected from abuse by existing law, and that there is no evidence new legislation is needed.

Sadly, the hysterical media reaction led to a climb down. The PM now does want a ban, but only covering sexual orientation – not transgenderism. It’s good that discussions about trans issues will not lead to prosecutions for ‘conversion therapy’. The Australian State of Victoria – whose ban is lauded by UK activists – expressly outlaws ‘not affirming someone’s gender identity’ and ‘parents not supporting’ their child’s request for puberty blockers. The PM is right to want to avoid that horrific scenario in the UK.

But the Government needs to understand that, just as reasonable discussion of gender should not be criminalised, neither should reasonable discussion of sexual ethics. And it will have a fight on its hands to stop Parliament putting trans back in the ban.

We are working hard on this. A year ago we instructed lawyers to write to the Government preparing the ground for a judicial review. We’re speaking to journalists, civil servants and politicians, as well as church leaders and other allies. In fact, around a thousand people joined us for a Zoom seminar earlier this year.

It’s a tough issue. There is much misrepresentation – and even outright slander – against Christians who simply hold to Christ’s teaching on gender and sexuality. (Leading activist Jayne Ozanne publicly compared me to Vladimir Putin!) But your support, your prayers, your letters to MPs and your submissions to the Government consultation, are all making a difference – thank you.

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Conversion therapy update

Public concern about plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’ has increased considerably in recent months. Much of the opposition stems from the serious lack of clarity about what is to be outlawed.