We are deeply concerned by the leaked documents shared by ITV News last night which suggested that the government is reconsidering the ban on conversion therapy for LGBT+ people in the UK.
Despite the supposed subsequent U-turn on this, there are indications that the ban might go ahead only for lesbian, gay and bi people, leaving trans people unprotected. Let us be clear – a ban without our trans siblings is not a ban.
So-called conversion therapy is psychological and physical abuse, and LGBT+ people in this country are being put through it simply because of who they are. We need this ban. We need it for the whole community.
In our services we see people who have sought help from police, social services, or other institutions which should protect them; we see people who have been turned away or have been returned to their abusers. Without a ban, there is no framework and no duty to understand, recognise, and respond appropriately to LGBT+ victims of so-called ‘conversion therapy.
Today we release a new report on abuse experienced by LGBT+ people at the hands of their families. 5% of the LGBT+ people we heard from had experienced conversion therapy driven by their family members. That was more than twice as likely for trans people, at 11%.
Our research into ‘corrective’ rape, released in January 2022, showed that 1 in 4 sexual assaults on LGBT+ people were committed to try to ‘convert’ or ‘punish’ us for our identities. This was even more common for assaults on trans people, where the figure was 1 in 3.
The government first promised a ban on conversion therapy in 2018. In the four years since that promise, too many members of our community have been subjected to this abuse. Too many are continuing to be left at risk. Our community deserves to be safe, and we have been waiting too long to be protected.
For anyone needing support, our National Conversion Therapy Helpline is open on 0800 130 3335 and CThelp@galop.org.uk