James Dawson demands ban of LGBT+ conversion therapy
11 March 2021
Councillor James Dawson has written to Maggie Throup MP to pressure her to support banning LGBT conversion therapy. James’ full letter is below:
Re: LGBT Conversion Therapy
I am writing to ask for your support to press the government to honour its commitment to ban conversion therapy within the United Kingdom. Conversion therapy is an alarmingly widespread practice that seeks to erase, repress, cure or change an individual’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and currently is legally taking place in medical, psychiatric, psychological, religious, and cultural communities.
Figures from the National LGBT Survey found that 7 per cent of LGBT+ people have been offered or undergone conversion therapy, with Trans respondents almost twice as likely to have undergone or been offered conversion therapy (13 per cent). Figures also found asexual people to be at a higher risk of being offered or undergoing conversion therapy (10
Half of respondents (51 per cent) who had undergone conversion therapy said it had been conducted by faith groups, and one in five (19 per cent) said it had been conducted by healthcare providers or medical professionals.
Right now, the law does not protect individuals from this harmful practice. And there is no dedicated funding for victim and survivor support, whether through support charities, faith groups or mental health practitioners, to help overcome trauma caused by conversion therapy and rebuild their lives.
It is worth noting that conversion therapy has been proven to have no medical value and that is why all major UK therapy professional bodies and the NHS oppose treatments that try to change a person’s sexual orientation or supress a person’s gender identity.
I was pleased to watch the debate in Westminster Hall on Monday 8th March 2021, which considered e-petition 300976 relating to LGBT conversion therapy, which when the petition closed, had garnered 256,392 signatures.
There were many inspiring contributions from all members’ present and broad agreement on a cross party basis, and evidently there is the willingness to bring in legislation to outlaw conversion therapy within our communities.
Given that the Prime Minister has stated himself that LGBT Conversion Therapy is “abhorrent” and “has no place in a civilised society” it was most disheartening to hear the Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch respond to the debate with platitudes, and historical stock answers without giving even a glimpse or hope that there is any action forthcoming.
Following on from, this in response to this debate, we have seen within the last 24 hours 3 members of the government’s own LGBT+ Advisory Panel resign in protest. In her letter of resignation Jayne Ozanne stated that: “I’ve been increasingly concerned about what is seen to be a hostile environment for LGBT people among this administration.
“Over the years which the advisory panel has met, we’ve seen an increasing lack of engagement and the actions of ministers have frankly been against our advice.”
If we want to eradicate this insidious form of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and acephobic abuse, we need a legislative ban to make conversion therapy illegal and I would urge you as my Member of Parliament to do your upmost to convince the government to honour its commitment to LGBT People and take the advice of its own advisory group seriously.
As my Labour colleague Charlotte Nichols (Warrington North) Said in the Westminster Hall debate:
“This is an opportunity to show the world the face of global Britain, setting an example and doing what is right. Our values can be clearly put into law to be seen by other countries where these awful practices are more common. The time has come for the Government to act to ban these practices.”
As the only LGBT+ Member of Erewash Borough Council, (to my knowledge) it is imperative that those of us with a public voice use it to stand up for those that cannot speak and only by speaking out can we create lasting change.
I hope I can rely on your support in this matter, so that we can continue to progress towards a world where all LGBT+ people can live without shame or fear. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you further and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Councillor James Dawson
Member for the Awsworth Road Ward
Deputy Leader of the Labour Group
Shadow Executive Member for Resources – Erewash Borough Council
Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Champion – Safer Stronger Communities Board –
Local Government Association
All opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and are not official Labour Party policy.