Conversion Therapy Ban to Be Introduced in U.K.

Author: Trudy Ring

The United Kingdom is moving toward a ban on conversion therapy.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will include legislation proposing the ban in King Charles III’s speech to the nation next month, British media are reporting. Former Prime Minister Theresa May first promised such a ban in 2018, and her immediate successor, Boris Johnson, went back and forth on the issue.

The Conservative Party, of which Sunak is a member, had been divided on a ban, but now the party has advised the prime minister to go ahead. If he does not do so, Conservative leaders fear the party could lose members and LGBTQ+ votes, The Guardian reports.

The proposal will include a ban on efforts to change gender identity as well as sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ advocates had urged that any bill be transgender-inclusive. While legislation in American states mostly bans subjecting young people to the practice, it appears the U.K. bill will address it both for youth and adults.

Related: New British Prime Minister Has Questionable LGBTQ+ Rights History

Pro-equality politicians and activists welcomed the move. Member of Parliament Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Women and Equalities Committee in the House of Commons, called it “excellent news,” according to The Guardian. “Conversion therapy is abhorrent, and we must move to stop people suffering from horrendous practices, which simply cannot ever be described as therapy,” she added.

News that the bill will be introduced comes after some leading U.K. politicians, including Sunak, have made antigay or anti-transgender statements. In a speech at the Conservative Party’s recent annual convention, the prime minister said, “We shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t. A man is a man and a woman is a woman — that’s just common sense.”

Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Petra De Sutter, the first trans person in Europe to attain such a position, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Sunak’s comments were “hurtful and very disappointing.” She continued, “These words are fueling transphobia and endangering the lives of many people around the world. Trans women are women. And in no way a threat to others. Don’t join the real bullies, @RishiSunak.”

At the same conference, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman criticized “gender ideology.” Andrew Boff, a gay man who’s a member of the London Assembly, the city’s governing body, was ejected from the meeting after complaining — quietly — that there’s no such thing as gender ideology. He told reporters later that the term is simply “a signal to people who don’t like people who are LGBT+ people,” The Guardian reports.

Also at the convention, Braverman claimed some people seeking asylum in the U.K. are pretending to be gay in order to gain admission.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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