Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has offered reassurances that the Government’s ban on so-called conversion therapy will not criminalise parents for questioning their child’s gender confusion.
Mrs Badenoch pledged that the ban will not prevent parents, religious leaders, teachers or health professionals from having “exploratory or even challenging conversations” with young people about ‘gender identity’.
The Government is expected to publish its draft Bill on so-called conversion therapy for gay and transgender people in the coming days.
The Christian Institute has warned the Government that it will seek a judicial review of any ban that infringes Christian beliefs on prayer, preaching, pastoring or parenting.
Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said it was vital that “those who uphold the Bible’s teaching on gender and sexual ethics are not subjected to criminal sanctions”.
Columnist Hadley Freeman recently reported in The Times that she had spoken to several members of the Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender (CAN-SG), almost all of whom asked to remain anonymous due to the “strong” level of fear across the organisation.
One GP said: “Several colleagues have been accused within their profession of conversion therapy just for asking their patients questions, which does make you nervous”, adding that younger gender-confused patients are “anywhere between 11 and 14”.
Earlier this year, feminist academic Kathleen Stock OBE warned that a conversion therapy ban could ‘irrevocably damage’ many more vulnerable children if Westminster endorsed “mindlessly” affirming “any child who claimed to be trans”.
Stock warned that the Government’s proposed ban could “create a one-sided situation” where “impressionable young people” are told that “their problems might be solved by ‘admitting’ they are trans”.
“Without proper exploration, a child like this can end up on a medicalised pathway towards puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery.
“Fear of prosecution for doing one’s job properly is the last thing needed by health professionals working in this sensitive and culturally fraught area, and is bound to impact badly on standards of care.”