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Plans to 'ban' conversion therapy to be brought forward 'shortly', promises Liz Truss

After three LGBT Advisory Panel members quit this week over government inaction on the issue

2021-03-12

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Wiki

Plans to "ban" LGBTQ conversion therapy are imminent, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss has confirmed.

Three members of the government's LGBT Advisory Panel quit this week over government inaction on the issue.

The scientifically-debunked practise, which attempts to change or suppress a person's sexuality or gender identity, was debated in Parliament on Monday.

"An abhorrent practise"

Speaking to ITV News, Truss said: "We're very committed to LGBT equality. We've recently brought forward plans to improve healthcare for transgender people and will shortly be bringing forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practise."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the broadcaster the practise is "repulsive", adding: "I'm sorry these advisors have gone but be in no doubt, we will deal with this issue. It is technically complex to deal with but we are determined to take further steps to stamp it out."

The move follows pressure from campaigners after Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch used the word "end" rather than 'ban' in a speech about conversion therapy on Monday.

Following the debate - prompted by a petition containing 250,000 signatures - Badenoch said the practise has "no place in a civilised society" but added "robust" laws are already in place to stop the most extreme examples, adding the government does not want to stop those who "seek spiritual counselling as they explore their sexual orientation."

Jayne Ozanne quit the LGBT Advisory Panel in response, telling the BBC: "I have called on Kemi to consider her position after her terrible speech on Monday."

"I don't believe they have the best interests of the LGBT community in their minds and I don't think they understand us," she said of Badenoch and Truss.

LGBTQ groups including Stonewall and Trans Media Watch then signed a letter addressed to Badenoch saying her statements were "very worrying and give the impression that the government is more interested in appeasing the extreme fringes of religious people, despite the calls for a ban from senior religious leaders from across a wide range of faiths."

Theresa May pledged to ban the scientifically-debunked practise - which attempts to change or suppress a person's sexuality or gender identity - in 2018, with Johnson echoing her claims in 2020.

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