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Trans 'conversion therapy' to be debated in Parliament after more than 144,000 sign petition

The petition started by Sammantha Harris currently has more than 144,000 signatures.

2022-05-18

Words and pictures: Alastair James

A debate to ensure that trans people are covered by a 'conversion therapy' ban has been scheduled to go ahead after a petition received the acquired number of signatures.

Currently, more than 144,000 people have signed the petition, far exceeding the required 100,000 to secure a parliamentary debate. 

This debate is due to take place on Monday 20 June. 

"There are people that care about the trans community"

Created by Sammantha Harris in the wake of the government's confirmation in April that it would be going ahead with a ban to protect people from 'conversion therapy' on the grounds of sexual orientation (but not for trans people) the petition demands a ban be fully inclusive.

Speaking to Attitude at a 3,000-strong protest against the government in April, Sammantha said seeing the petition grow rapidly "shows there are people that care about the trans community out there and it is refreshing to see that," despite the media landscape. 

She added that "it's been joyous" to see the support grow.

In response to the petition, the government has previously said: "We will introduce a ban protecting everyone from attempts to change their sexual orientation. Recognising the complexity of issues we will consider the issue of transgender conversion therapy further."

This was reiterated in the Queen's Speech this year, which reconfirmed the commitment to a ban for LGB people, but not for trans. 

Ahead of the debate, MPs on the Petitions Committee have written to the Government to ask:

- what evidence has informed the Government's decision not to include transgender conversion therapy in the proposed ban on conversion therapy practices.

- for more details of the 'separate work' the Government has said it will do to consider the issue of transgender conversion therapy.

- when the Government intends to publish its response to the consultation on banning conversion therapy.

You can follow the debate on 20 June here.

The Attitude May/June issue is out now.