I have been contacted by constituents about Legislation Banning Conversion Therapy.
As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:
I take this issue very seriously and I know that my colleagues in the Equalities Office remain committed to tackling conversion therapy in the UK. This practice has no place in civilised society, being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not an illness to be “treated” or “cured.”
The Government Equalities’ Office commissioned a large-scale LGBT survey in 2017. Sadly, two per cent of respondents to the national LGBT survey said they had undergone conversion therapy in an attempt to ‘cure’ them of being LGBT. Unfortunately, in this survey, what conversion therapy entailed was not defined, nor were the respondents asked whether or not the conversion therapy referred to in their answer was offered in the UK.
I very much welcome the fact that the Government is delivering on its promise and will legislate to ban conversion therapy to protect LGBT people from this harmful practice.
As you may be aware, the Government launched a six-week consultation on how Ministers plan to ban practices of so called 'conversion therapy'. The consultation was due to close on 10 December but has now been extended by eight weeks, this is to ensure that the widest possible views are being taken into account. I understand that the consultation has already taken views from members of the public, victims of conversion therapy, LGBT organisations, faith groups, psychiatric and counselling bodies, charities and other interested stakeholders to ensure we hear from all voices in shaping the ban on conversion therapy.
The consultation will now close on 4 February, in order to allow ample opportunity for those to contribute who have not yet been able to do so. I would therefore encourage you to take part at the following link - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-conversion-therapy.
I would like to reassure you that the results will be analysed and will inform the Government's next steps in preparing legislation for spring 2022.
This Government's proposals include the creation of a new criminal offence and will also ensure that conversion therapy is considered by judges as a potential aggravating factor upon sentencing for existing violent criminal offences. Further to this, Ministers propose a range of other supportive measures including the introduction of statutory Conversion Therapy Protection Orders to protect individuals facing imminent risk, such as forced travel abroad to receive conversion therapy.
I remain positive about the steps that have been made so far in the UK to achieve LGBT equality, and I am confident that this Government’s good work will continue.