Our latest report shows that nearly 1 in 5 (18 per cent) LGBT+ people in the UK having been subjected to someone trying to change, ‘cure’ or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Trans and non-binary people are being subjected to higher rates of conversion practices, with just over 2 in 5 of trans people (43 per cent) reporting experiences of others trying to change or supress their identity.
Conversion practices can take many forms and often are made up of a pattern of abuse over a long period of time. In this new research, LGBT+ survivors of conversion practices report experiencing psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as threats of homelessness or forced marriage, perpetrated against them. Galop works directly with LGBT+ victims and survivors of conversion practices, and see first-hand the repercussions this form of abuse can have on a victim, even decades after the abuse ends.
One LGBT+ survivor said: “My mother tried to make me date men when I was dating a woman, exposed me to images of male genitalia and heterosexual sex acts and pornography in an attempt to ‘fix me’, and threatened to poison my food on a regular basis when I refused to break up with my girlfriend.”
The majority of LGBT+ respondents who have experienced conversion practices (56 per cent) stated that conversion practices come from the people they should feel safest with – their own family. One survivor disclosed: “I was told that I couldn’t be gay whilst living under [my father’s] roof, and was thrown out of home the week I turned 16.”
Leni Morris, CEO of LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop, said: “These numbers finally show a full picture of how the LGBT+ community are subjected to abuse from people who want to change who we are. We have been working with LGBT+ people currently going through this for many years, and we know the lifelong effects conversion practices have on LGBT+ victims.
With so many of us facing abuse, violence, and sexual assault to try to change who we are, it is vital that the Government follows through on its promises and bring about a swift, comprehensive ban to protect victims and those at risk, and provide support to survivors. The ban must protect our whole community and recognise the harm conversion practices are doing to LGBT+ people in the UK right now. We do not need to be changed or cured, and we do deserve to be protected.”
Galop’s National Conversion Therapy Helpline is available Monday-Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm by phone (0800 130 3335), and via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 25th January 2023