Conversion Therapy — Why we need to speak up and how you can help.Daniel Kirkwood
Today, in a now deleted tweet, the UK government reached out to talk to people about conversion therapy, it’s affects on the LGBTQ+ community and whether or not it should be criminalised.
Ignoring the fact the Prime Minister promised to ban the practice last year (Source: PinkNews), it now seems that a petition is what has motivated the Commons to look at the laws surrounding the legal torture of the LGBTQ+ community and that this is how they intend to create the policy surrounding the issue. In the survey that was tweeted out by house they ask 3 questions:
- How does conversion therapy affect the LGBTQ+ community?
- Should the practice be made a specific criminal offence? What would it mean to you if was made a specific criminal offence?
- How should ‘conversion therapy’ be defined?
I encourage everyone to head over to the survey and respond. doing so could not only help with relieving the stress of potential consequences of coming out that people in the community fear they’ll face, but you could actually save lives. We only have until the 13th of July to do this.
I decided to make my answers public for the main reason of being to be able to raise awareness within my immediate circle and those across the internet but also so that, as a straight person, if I get something wrong and I have misunderstood any of my arguments, people from the LGBTQ+ community have the opportunity to challenge me and educate me on the issues.
How does conversion therapy affect the LGBTQ+ community?
Conversion therapy is one of the biggest fears a “closeted” person of the LGBTQ+ community can face. The idea that after revealing their sexuality to their parents, carers or any trusted person around them, they might be sent to attend sessions of psychological torture where they are told they are not who they are. It is a practice that’s denounced by most, if not all reputable psychotherapy institutes and experts in the UK and they’ve repeatedly stated how harmful it can be to an individual. With this in mind I think it’s insane that the UK government is asking regular citizens for their opinion on this rather than listening to, for example:
The UK Council for Psychotherapy – “It is exploitative for a psychotherapist to offer treatment that might ‘cure’ or ‘reduce’ same-sex attraction as to do so would be offering a treatment for which there is no illness.”
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – “There is no scientific, rational or ethical reason to treat people who identify within a range of human sexualities any differently from those who identify solely as heterosexual.”
The Royal College of Psychiatrists – “The Royal College of Psychiatrists believes strongly in evidence-based treatment. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”
Should the practice be made a specific criminal offence? What would it mean to you if was made a specific criminal offence?
Taking into account the quotes in my previous answer; yes of course it should be. If it were to be made a specific criminal offense that would signify, to me, that we’re taking a huge step into a more inclusive and less discriminatory future for the United Kingdom. My conscious would be eased knowing I wouldn’t have to fear as much for my LGBTQ+ friends and family.
How should ‘Conversion Therapy’ be defined?
I’m incredibly concerned that the government is asking this question to the general populous, rather than to the experts (again, cited above) who have spent years studying the practice looking into its scope and effects on people.
To me, conversion therapy is any therapy designed to make a person act or feel differently about their sexuality from a gay man being forced to be attracted to women (or vice versa) to a trans-person being forced to act cis-gendered. This would include therapies designed to get a bi-sexual person to “pick a side”.
I really hope I’ve made people aware of this survey and maybe convinced them to submit a response. This is an incredibly heavy subject I’m well aware and if you need support or information please get in touch with one of the following charities (also provided at the end of the survey):
Switchboard LGBT+ – Helpline run by LGBT charity
Tel:0300 330 0630
Stonewall – LGBT Information Service
Tel: 0800 0502020
LGBT Foundation – Helpline run by LGBT charity.
Tel: 0845 3 30 30 30