entertainment

Vanessa Feltz criticises government's lack of action on gay 'conversion' therapy

The TV presenter says there is no "sound reason or possible justification for not moving all possible hindrances to stopping " the cruel pratice.

2021-08-25

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

TV’s Vanessa Feltz has called out the UK Government over its lack of action on conversion therapy, describing every day that goes by without the practice being banned as "a crime against humanity."

The presenter and journalist discussed her thoughts on the podcast A Gay and a NonGay with James Barr and Dan Hudson.

The UK Government announced plans to ban the abhorrent and debunked practice in May, with plans initially being promised in 2018 by former Prime Minister Theresa May.

“A crime against humanity”

Asked why the UK Government might be taking so long to get round to doing anything on banning conversion therapy, Vanessa says: “My thoughts are that it’s appalling”, but that it’s something that’s “been ignored by a succession of governments.”

“I cannot see any reason at all, any sound reason or possible justification for not moving all possible hindrances to stopping this. It’s abusive, it’s absolutely contemptible, it’s disgraceful that it should be allowed to continue in any form whatsoever,” she continues.

“It’s disgraceful that it should be legitimised, it’s disgraceful that it hasn’t been outlawed, exposed, punished, condemned vigorously on front pages and by politicians of all different persuasions.”

Feltz says every day that goes by without the practice being banned “is a crime against humanity”. She concludes it’s awful and that sadly, it’s an issue a majority of people probably don’t have to address, think about, or even be aware of. This she says, is a failure and that “we [everyone] need to get it out there and we need to make it known” so people act on it.

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t love about it”

Elsewhere in the podcast, Feltz’s discusses her role as a gay icon. Asked if she knows whether she’s a gay icon she replies: “Do I have to be modest and pretend I don’t or can I admit that I know and I’ve been a gay icon for decades now?”

Presenter James Barr suggests it’s because she’s “fiercely” herself and Feltz dates the time the phrase was first used in reference to her to around 1994. She also enjoys a suggestion that some gay people have pictures of her in their house, and maybe even the odd duvet cover.

She also regrets not taking advantage of the opportunities to enjoy her gay icon status sooner recounting one occasion where she introduced The Weather Girls at some “fabulous, lesbian fandango fiesta in Finsbury Park” and going for a ride in the gay equivalent of the bishop mobile through the crowd.

Feltz also reveals she’s waiting on an invitation to guest-judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t love about it”, calling RuPaul “divine”. We hope to see her on the show in the very near future!

Closing out the show, Feltz cements her status as a gay icon by answering listener questions in an Agony Aunt section. When one person asks about shame for who they are and how do they remove that Feltz proclaims people need not have shame over their sexuality, which is a "waste of shame". "It would be a heartbreaking state of affairs if you wasted any of your life being ashamed of something which is absolutely part of who you are."

Amen!

Catch A Gay and a NonGay here.

The Attitude September Style Issue, is out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.