Conversion Therapy is a threat to the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ people. This cruel and harmful practice can have devastating effects, including lifelong trauma and poor mental health.
LGBT+ people have nothing to be ashamed of and there is nothing wrong or broken about who we are. Our sexual orientations and gender identities are diverse and should be celebrated. Yet so-called conversion practices are still legal and still happening in the UK today.
The National LGBT Survey found that 7% of LGBT people have been offered or undergone Conversion Therapy, rising to 13% for trans people. Research from Galop, the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity, found that 11% of trans people have been subjected to conversion practices by their own families. People are targeted in medical, psychiatric, psychological, religious, and cultural settings. These are places everyone should feel safe.
Despite promising that they would ban Conversion Therapy, it was reported last week that the Conservative government were abandoning their plans to do so. Following immediate and furious backlash to this revelation, the government backtracked and returned to backing a ban – but this time excluding trans people, leaving them at continued risk of abuse from this cruel practice.
Contrary to the claims of leading Conservative politicians, there is no rationale for excluding trans people from the ban. A wide range of psychological and medical bodies in the UK have supported banning conversion therapy for trans people; from the Royal College of Psychiatrists to the British Medical Association, from NHS England to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The Conservative Government, not for the first time, is ignoring scientific advice to suit its own agenda.
Lambeth has a long and proud history with the LGBT+ community and is home to one of the largest LGBT+ populations anywhere in the UK. As LGBT+ Labour councillors and candidates for the upcoming local elections in Lambeth, we are committed to making sure our borough is the best place for LGBT+ people to live, work and socialise, and that our borough is a safe space for all. Part of making that a reality includes campaigning for the government to honour their original promise and ban Conversion Therapy in all its forms, for all LGBT+ people.
Anything less would be a betrayal of our community and will be received as a clear attempt to stoke division and play politics with the lives of those who need protection from Conversion Therapy the most.
Cllr Matthew Bennett
Cllr Anna Birley
Cllr Lucy Caldicott