Law banning conversion therapy is set to be announced this week

Law banning conversion therapy is set to be announced this week which will make illegal to try and change person’s sexuality and gender identity

  • The Government is poised to announce a full LGBT+ conversion therapy ban 
  • Downing Street previously held back against banning trans conversion therapy 
  • No 10 was apparently surprised by level of cross party support, including Tories
  • Draft bill won’t be published until later this year, leaving questions unanswered 

A new ban on conversion therapy could soon be announced by the Government, covering gender identity as well as sexual orientation.

It is understood the proposed legislation will be announced this week.

The Government had previously held back against including trans conversion therapy in the law but there has been widespread cross party support for a total ban, ITV reports.

Jayne Ozanne, former equalities advisor to No10, said: ‘It’s good to hear that finally, after nearly five years, we are going to get the legislative ban that we have been so long-promised.

Demonstrators wave flags and hold placards during a protest in Brighton last year

Demonstrators wave flags and hold placards during a protest in Brighton last year 

‘I’m relieved to learn that the Government will include full protections for trans people, but remain concerned that large loopholes may be created regarding whether someone can supposedly “consent” and on religious practices.

‘The latter is by far the most common form in the UK and must be stopped if LGB+ lives are to be protected from this horrific abuse.’

Leaked documents in March last year showed Boris Johnson’s administration had quietly planned to drop the ban, which was developed by Theresa May in 2018.

 After an angry fallout, the Government u-turned and announced a ban on conversion therapy for sexual orientation in last year’s Queen’s Speech.

Now, the Government is set to announce the introduction of a full ban, which will be published later this year – allowing MPs to scrutinise its wording.

The bill is apparently being overseen by Downing Street rather than equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, whose brief covers it.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch reportedly will not be overseeing the new conversion therapy bill

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch reportedly will not be overseeing the new conversion therapy bill

Commentators believe the UK Government has set itself in competition against the Welsh Government to announce new legislation on trans rights first. 

But until the bill is published, there is uncertainty over how it will work in principle.

The few remaining ‘gender conversion’ therapy programmes in the UK are typically voluntary, leading to confusion as to whether providers can be prosecuted if adults consent to be treated.

Campaigners argue many of those who consent to conversion therapy are ignorant about the dangers, rendering any ban that does not cover consenting adults ineffective.

It is also unknown whether the ban will cover religious practices. Previous assurances have been made that a ban would not encroach upon religious teaching, but campaigners insist this would allow some of the most harmful procedures to continue.

Campaigners in the gender critical movement, which has a group of vocal supporters inside Parliament, are also likely to carefully monitor the proposed transgender conversion ban – amid fears it could criminalise discussions of psychiatrists treating teenagers and other vulnerable people.

It is not known when the bill is likely to go before the House of Commons, but ITV News reports that Downing Street plans to pass the legislation before the next election. 

Sources at No 10 are reportedly surprised at the level of cross party support for a total conversion therapy ban, including from the Conservative benches. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also vowed a full conversion therapy ban, meaning the new legislation will still be implemented even if the Tories lose the next election.

Besides campaigning from LGBTQ+ groups such as Stonewall and the LGBT Consortium, figures including the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, wrote to the Prime Minister last year urging him to include trans people in the ban.

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