Conversion therapy update

1500 people have already used our 2 minute form to write to their MPs asking them to #presspause on the government’s conversion therapy consultation.

Many people have written that it’s the first time they’ve contacted their elected representative about anything and hundreds have shared deeply personal reasons for their concern. We have also heard from MPs that the messages are getting through and being read.

One submission said,

“It takes a lot for me to bother to send a letter to my MP but this is a subject I feel very strongly about”

while another wrote,

“I have been a constituent for 30 years and have never written to you before, but I feel moved to ask you to consider the important topic of conversion therapy.”

The Government is rushing its consultation on conversion therapy – doing it in just six weeks instead of the usual twelve.  We are concerned that the proposed legislation will do the opposite of making it “safe to be me”, particularly for children experiencing gender dysphoria, and coming to believe they were “born in the wrong body”.  You can read our position paper on the proposal which sets out our concerns.

If you’re worried about the compressed timeframe and the potential outcome contact your MP this week, using our 2 minute form.

Prevent harm

Concerned individuals from all walks of life spread right across the country have shared their concerns and experience to explain how damaging it will be if the law leads to non-affirmation of a child’s declared gender identity being viewed as conversion therapy. 

“I am a frontline nhs child clinician. I am regularly assessing children who present with no dysphoria but do present with anxiety and low mood worsened by peer pressure. These children mistakenly think that puberty blockers, hormones, surgery and body modification are the answer. They are not. Please help extend this vital consultation – without the protection of the law I cannot do my job and provide watchful waiting or safeguarding principles to these children. These children will naturally desist, please let us prevent harm done to them whilst they are in the most vulnerable state.”

“I am writing to you as a psychotherapist with concerns about the forthcoming legislation regarding so-called “conversion therapy”. It is particularly important that young people have a chance to explore their anxieties about gender without being rushed into making irreversible changes. Please give some attention to this important issue.”

Irreversible damage

Many lesbians and gay men have told their MPs that as gender non-conforming children they might have sought to change their bodies to fit societal norms and been caused irreversible damage, including osteoporosis and infertility.

“As a young man I needed time to grow up and grow out of my discomfort as a male, and I am chilled to the bone that I might have been encouraged to think of myself as a girl and for that not to be questioned in therapy.”

Social workers, doctors, midwives, mental health professionals, nurses, teachers, paramedics, academics, psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers, teachers, parents and grandparents have shared their fears for young people, who feel they don’t fit in, being guided towards life-changing drugs and surgery instead of talking therapies. The proposed legislation would make it impossible for many to do their jobs properly and would criminalise approaches other than affirmation.

“I am a lesbian living with gender dysphoria and the results of the conversion therapy ban, with regards to identity, could directly affect not only me and how I treat my dysphoria through talking therapy, but it could also negatively impact my therapist.”

“It would have been a terrible mistake”

Parents of trans-identifying children, or children who have desisted, have given heartbreaking descriptions of children with complicated mental health issues including eating disorders, neuro diverse children who struggle with societal norms, children who are lesbian or gay who have been pushed into medical transition when a holistic approach and watchful waiting would have given them time to accept themselves as they are.

“As a lesbian on the autism spectrum, I know if I were a teen today, I would have wanted to transition instead of growing to accept myself as I am. It would have been a terrible mistake.”

“I have a family member who had severe anxiety issues which morphed into an eating disorder and then, without any meaningful exploration or acknowledgement of these issues, she was prescribed cross-sex hormones. Aged 22 she changed her mind and de-transitioned but she has been harmed by the testosterone. A progressive, civilised world would not endorse such a cavalier attitude to (in her case) mental health problems.”

Email your MP today

Have your say and write to your MP today. Our easy to use form takes just a couple of minutes to do and the more people our representatives hear from the more likely they are to take notice and use their influence to pause this consultation.

Include a personal message if you’d like to and explain what this means to you.

We will write to you later with guidance to help you respond to the consultation before it closes.