The government’s plan to “ban gender identity conversion therapy” is ill-considered. It will:
- threaten parents, teachers, therapists and youth workers with prosecution if they do not affirm that a child is “born in the wrong body”
- make it harder for children experiencing gender issues to access supportive, exploratory mental health care, and lead to more children being convinced that they must change their bodies (a modern form of conversion therapy)
- put the concept of “gender identity” into law, and outlaw doctors from disagreeing with a patient’s self-identified gender – self-ID by the back door.
There is still a chance to stop, change or influence the legislation to make sure that it does not have these negative impacts. We think the government should:
- recognise that its Coventry University study found zero evidence of “gender identity conversion therapy” in the UK – it is simply a made-up term with no evidence behind it
- wait for the outcomes of the Cass Review before undertaking any new legislation concerning transitioning children
- build in a process of pre-legislative scrutiny by a parliamentary Joint Committee (where it undertakes a detailed examination of an early draft of a bill before the final version is drawn up by the Government).
The government is in a hurry because it wants to have something to announce at the international LGBT summit the UK is hosting in June 2022. But children’s lives, children’s bodies and the safeguarding relationship between parents, teachers, therapists and others concerned with children’s welfare are too important to be the subject of legislation to be rushed through to suit the government’s PR agenda.
Young women like Keira Bell and Sinead Watson will live with the consequences of decisions to treat their mental health issues as a reason to operate on their healthy bodies for the rest of their lives. The government owes it to other young people to take its time and get any legislation in this area right.
The proposed legislation will only cover England and Wales, but responses from Scotland and Northern Ireland will be considered and will be sent to their respective national Governments to inform their own plans.
We are asking our supporters to take urgent action in January.
Talk to your MP
This is one of the most effective things you can do. Make an appointment and go and speak to them in person, as a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, teacher, healthcare professional, or just as a concerned citizen.
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The deadline is Friday 4th February. You can answer all the questions, or just two. Use our quick response tool or worksheet to help you.