In The South

Government to ban gay conversion therapies

Besi Besemar July 4, 2018

Gay conversion therapies which try to cure people’s sexuality are to be banned under the governments new LGBT+ Action Plan.

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

THIS follows the biggest survey of its kind accessing the difficulties facing LGBT+ people living in the UK. It found among other things, that more than two-thirds of same-sex couples said they didn’t hold hands in public for fear of facing abuse.

The Governments Equalities Office has drawn up a new national action plan with 75 new measures including a ban on controversial conversion therapies, which attempt to change people’s sexuality; the appointment a new LGBT+ Health Advisor to improve access to Health Services; and a consultation on reforming gender laws to make it easier for trans people to change their birth certificate.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT+ rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT+ people.

“This LGBT action plan will set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society, from health and education to tackling discrimination and addressing the burning injustices that LGBT people face.”

The action plan will include a £4.5m fund to address inequality and support the delivery of actions in the plan in areas including health, education, personal safety and the workplace. It says the Government will, among other actions:

Penny Mourdant MP
Penny Mourdant MP

The Equalities Minister Penny Mourdant, added: “I am incredibly proud of the UK’s global leadership on LGBT+ equality and the fact that this is the largest survey of its kind, but many of the results are very disturbing.

“It’s unacceptable that people feel they cannot hold hands with their partner in public, and that they are unable to walk down the street without fear of abuse. It is also deeply worrying that LGBT people experience difficulty accessing public services such as healthcare, and that so many are being offered the abhorrent practise of conversion therapy.

“This Government has done much to promote a diverse, tolerant society and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – but it is clear we have more to do.

“Our Action Plan is a step towards everyone – regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics – being able to live safe, happy and healthy lives where they can be themselves without fear of discrimination. It will mark a culture change to allow LGBT people to feel respected at every level of society.”

Human Rights and LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell, said: “The LGBT Action Plan is a welcome start but it falls short on key issues.

“The biggest fail is the lack of any pledge to end the detention and deportation of LGBT+ refugees fleeing persecution in violently homophobic countries like Uganda, Iran, Russia, Egypt and Jamaica.
“Another big omission is the absence of any commitment to compensate gay and bisexual men who were convicted under past anti-gay laws. They suffered greatly; frequently being hit with huge fines. Some were jailed and beaten in prison. They often lost their job, income and home. Many suffered mental breakdowns. Their lives were wrecked for decades. The government’s unwillingness to include compensation in its Action Plan is a huge let down.
“The £4.5 million budget is derisory and insulting. It coincides with cuts in funding for sexual health clinics, which make it hard to get testing and treatment appointments. This is contributing to a rise in infections among gay – and straight – people. 
“Banning gay conversion therapy is the right thing to do. It doesn’t work and it is deeply offensive to try to change a fundamental, natural and widespread human characteristic.”