A guide to identifying so-called "conversion therapy" and how to seek support
What is ‘conversion therapy’?
‘Conversion therapy’ means any practice which tries to change or suppress someone’s orientation or gender identity. This may be committed by family members, community members or groups, religious leaders or organisations, health workers, counsellors/therapists, or other practitioners within the ‘well-being sector’. No one should try to ‘cure’, ‘convert’ or ‘punish’ someone because of who they are. This can be seriously damaging to the LGBT+ person and is a form of abuse.
At Galop, we often talk about ‘so-called conversion practices’ because these practices do not always look like ‘therapy’. There is a range of behaviours and actions which can be used to try to change or suppress who an LGBT+ person is. This can include being prayed over, being shamed in front of others, being beaten or made to ingest something, being locked up or denied food/water, or being assaulted.
These experiences can be deeply damaging to LGBT+ people. Not only are they abusive, they also damage LGBT+ people’s sense of self and identity. LGBT+ people can suffer the repercussions of these experiences for many years.
LGBT+ people exist in all faith and religious communities and Galop supports all LGBT+ people of faith to express their beliefs as they wish, in safe and supportive environments. Exploring your identity with someone you trust is not conversion therapy – but abuse that tries to force you to be someone you are not is.
If you are an LGBT+ child or adult and these practices are happening to you, you can refer yourself to our services for support and advice.