Sex Matters welcomes the news that the government has not committed to bringing forward a bill to ban “conversion therapy” in the King’s speech today.
We think that any bill which criminalises forms of talking in relation to gender identity would:
- 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 – introducing gender self-ID by the back door
- create an unworkable criminal offence as there is no agreed definition of “gender identity”.
We note that those who have been promoting this bill are now considering a plan to try to achieve the same goals by amending other legislation, such as a law and order bill. Sex Matters will continue to respond to those proposals.
Alicia Kearns MP has invited “those who want to talk about the complexities of the legislation” to talk. We have therefore written to her to ask for a meeting to discuss our proposal to ban “modern conversion therapy”.
Modern conversion therapy means treating someone with medication or surgery to modify their sexual characteristics, when they:
- are too young or vulnerable to make a fully informed decision
- have confounding mental-health issues that have not been not addressed
- are acting due to internalised homophobia or misogyny
- have unrealistic expectations that treatment can actually change their sex
- think other people can be forced to accept them as the opposite sex, based on a misrepresentation of the law
- have not been given full information about the effects of the treatment.