'Medway Pride 2021 - Local Lib Dems petition to ban conversion therapy in the UK'
By alan wells - Medway liberal democrats
Medway Liberal Democrats stood side by side with other organisations to take part in Medway's first Pride event on Saturday 21st August and helped us to highlight our campaign to ban conversion therapy.
While it is wonderful to be out at Medway's first Pride event, we in the Medway Lib Dems are mindful that Pride has its roots in protest against oppression. We in the UK are incredibly fortunate to be able to celebrate Pride publicly with our families - this is a hard-won right which Liberals have been at the front of the fight for, for decades.
While the Conservative government are happy to pay lip service to LGBT+ rights, they are dragging their heels on banning conversion therapy, on trans+ rights, and on evacuating vulnerable people, including LGBT+ people, from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
This year, we asked attendees at Pride to support our national campaign to end the morally-bankrupt practice of conversion therapy.
John Castle, chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said: "Conversion therapy is a blight on people's lives. It is offensive, abusive, and dangerous, preying on vulnerable people who all too often are young. Being LGBT+ is nothing to be ashamed of, and no-one should be made to feel they are other, or lesser, or somehow less worthy than the rest of us because of that."
"The government have made promises about banning this awful practice, but so far this has just been empty words. We had a tremendous response to our petition at our stand at Pride and clearly this sends the message that conversion therapy has no place in Medway, or the United Kingdom. Our party has always been there for LGBT+ people and we always will be."
Liberal Democrats demand action. and we have called for a total ban of conversion therapy in the UK, with no exemptions for religious practices.
The party also wants to see a criminal ban on referrals, transportation of minors overseas, and advertising and promotion of any conversion practices as well as a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of conversion therapy.
Their calls come in the same year as the Government have met with the Evangelical Alliance and LGB Alliance, who advocate religious exemptions for gay conversion therapy, whilst failing to honour their promise to ban the practice.
Liberal Democrat Equalities spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said: "Gay conversion therapy has no place in our society. The last three Conservative Prime Ministers have each promised to ban it, but still we have seen no action to live up to this promise.
"Let's be clear - conversion therapy is a form of torture. Why should we allow religious organisations free reign to induce or pressure people into undertaking this dangerous practice? We should be teaching people to embrace who they are, not try and be something they're not.
"It's shameful that in the same year as Alan Turing, who was chemically castrated for loving another man, takes his place on our £50 note we still allow organisations and individuals to try and 'cure' people.
"Liberal Democrats will not stand for this injustice. We are calling for an immediate ban on conversion practices in all forms, with no exemptions. The Government must honour their commitment to the LGBT+ community and act now."
Notes to the Editors
At the Liberal Democrats 2021 conference a motion was passed which called for:
The banning of conversion practices in all forms - this should include the following:
A criminal ban on all forms of conversion therapy; including those claiming to be psychiatric, psychological, therapeutic, or consultative; or a religious practice such as a prayer or exorcism; or any other medical, scientific, or cultural activity seeking to suppress or change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
A criminal ban on referrals, transportation of minors overseas, and advertising and promotion, for any of the above.
No exemption for religious and faith-based organisations for any of the above.
A campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of conversion therapy among vulnerable people and in social environments where conversion therapy is most likely to be promoted.
Lib Dem elected representatives to work to ensure that all LGBT+ people are able to live in freedom, authenticity, and safety.