The UK government announced yesterday on 3rd July the intent to ban Gay conversion therapy. Along with that announcement, which is part of their LGBT road map, they also published the results of a comprehensive survey that has enabled them to make informed decisions.
The Survey Itself
This government is committed to making the UK a country that works for everyone. We want to strip away the barriers that hold people back so that everyone can go as far as their hard work and talent can take them.
In July 2017, we launched a survey to gather more information about the experiences of LGBT people in the UK. The survey response was unprecedented. Over 108,000 people participated, making it the largest national survey of LGBT people in the world to date.
Today we are publishing a detailed report on the headline findings. These focus on the experiences of LGBT people in the areas of safety, health, education and employment.
Although respondents were generally positive about the UK’s record on LGBT rights, some of the findings make for difficult reading:
- LGBT respondents are less satisfied with their life than the general UK population (rating satisfaction 6.5 on average out of 10 compared with 7.7). Trans respondents had particularly low scores (around 5.4 out of 10)
- More than two thirds of LGBT respondents said they had avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner for fear of a negative reaction from others
- At least 2 in 5 respondents had experienced an incident because they were LGBT, such as verbal harassment or physical violence, in the 12 months preceding the survey. However, more than 9 in 10 of the most serious incidents went unreported, often because respondents thought ‘it happens all the time’
- two percent of respondents had undergone conversion or reparative therapy in an attempt to ‘cure’ them of being LGBT, and a further 5% had been offered it
- twenty four percent of respondents had accessed mental health services in the 12 months preceding the survey
None of this is acceptable. Clearly, we have more to do. We have therefore published a comprehensive LGBT Action Plan that sets out what steps the government will take in response to the survey findings.
Ban Conversion Therapy?
What motivated such a move was this discovery …
Five percent of respondents had been offered so called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy (but did not take it up) and a further 2% had undergone it. We did not provide a definition of conversion therapy in the survey, but it can range from pseudo-psychological treatments to, in extreme cases, surgical interventions and ‘corrective’ rape.
Who conducted the so called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy?
Oh come now, you can guess that one.
The survey reveals that more than half of this conversion therapy was conducted by religious groups. Note that I’m not telling you that more than half opted to do this for religious reasons, but rather that more than half of these supposed ‘conversions’ were conducted by wholly unqualified non-medical trained individuals whose sole qualification is that they happen to think that their imaginary friend is real.
That is truly shocking.
The LGBT+ Action Plan
Some of the key actions within what is a very comprehensive 75 step plan includes …
- appointing a national LGBT health adviser to provide leadership on reducing the health inequalities that LGBT people face
- extending the anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying programme in schools
- bringing forward proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK
- taking further action on LGBT hate crime – improving the recording and reporting of, and police response to, hate crime
Note that I’ve highlighted one item there.
The details of that will mean a very specific legal ban …
We will bring forward proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK. These activities are wrong, and we are not willing to let them continue. Led by the Government Equalities Office, we will fully consider all legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy. Our intent is protect people who are vulnerable to harm or violence, whether that occurs in a medical, commercial or faith-based context. We are not trying to prevent LGBT people from seeking legitimate medical support or spiritual support from their faith leader in the exploration of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion Therapy – The Facts
Rather obviously this is claimed to alter an individuals sexual orientation to be heterosexual. Wh.t is not so obvious is that it is wholly bogus.
There is no reliable evidence that any variation of those supposed conversion therapy actually works. Various medical bodies warn people that not only is it ineffective, but it is seriously harmful.
It is also deemed to not be ethical
That’s not an opinion, it is an official fact …
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) opposes psychiatric treatment “based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation” and describes attempts to change sexual orientation by practitioners as unethical. It also states that debates over the integration of gay and lesbian people have obscured science “by calling into question the motives and even the character of individuals on both sides of the issue” and that the advancement of conversion therapy may cause social harm by disseminating unscientific views about sexual orientation. United States Surgeon General David Satcher in 2001 issued a report stating that “there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed”.
We live in a world where evangelical fundamentalists believe in many things such as compassion, tolerance and decency … but if you happen to be gay, then all bets are off and that compassion, tolerance, and decency get trumped by hatred, intolerance, and a complete lack of basic human decency.