Myths and truths on conversion therapy

Equalities Minister Mike Freer says that he wants to “bust myths” about the government‘s plan to ban conversion therapy. The good news is that he says that he wants to take care to get the legislation right:

“This Government has no intention to stop parents, clinicians, teachers, or anyone else from having open and explorative conversations with young people or others about their sexual orientation or whether they are transgender or not. As Minister for Equalities, I will not allow these kinds of supportive conversations to be outlawed. It is in no one’s interest.”

But the bad news is that the government does not seem to understand the risks of getting it wrong.

Following an article by Sex Matters’ Maya Forstater in The Critic, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) wrote to the magazine asking for seven myths to be dispelled.

But in fact the government’s talking points contain several myths. Perhaps most shockingly, they say: 

“This policy is not rushed. It was first announced in 2018 and has been debated on multiple occasions in parliament.”

In fact a review of Hansard records show that the policy has never been properly debated in parliament, and when it was announced in the Queen’s Speech, everyone in parliament seemed to think it was about “gay conversion therapy”.

Freer says that “evidence suggests that transgender people are currently experiencing, or are targeted with, these abhorrent practices, experiencing significant negative impacts as a result”.

But the government’s own research study was unable to clearly characterise conversion therapy in relation to gender identity, found no evidence of it in the UK, and found no evidence to support its claim of harm. 

We are calling for pre-legislative scrutiny (a process where a committee of peers and MPs consider an early draft fo the legislation) to make sure the government gets this legislation right – and does not add fuel to the fire of social-contagion-driven youth dysphoria, and the medical “conversion” of gay and gender-non-conforming children. 

For a detailed analysis, read Maya Forstater’s new article in The Critic, ‘Fact not Fiction’.