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'Medway Liberal Democrats launch online petition to ban conversion therapy in the UK'

May 29, 2022 2:06 PM
By Paul O'Neill/Alan Wells - Medway liberal democrats

Lib Dem ban conversion therapy nowWe are pleased to announce the launch of the our online petition to ban conversion therapy. Last year when the Medway Liberal Democrat team were at Medway Pride, LGBT+ people, friends, family and allies signed our petition calling for the practice to be banned. The link to our petition is here: http://medwaylibdems.org.uk/BanAllConversionTherapy

Paul O'Neill, Diversity Officer for Medway Liberal Democrats said, "We want a total ban on the practice, not a partial one and we continue to stand alongside all those fighting for the total end of conversion therapy, including for trans people. It's clear that the public feels strongly about banning conversion therapy, sooner rather than later"

"We have great praise for MEDWAY PRIDE CIC in their achievement for the first ever Medway pride, and 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. We are continuing to ask people to support our national campaign to end the morally-bankrupt practice of conversion therapy."

This Conservative Government has shown its lack of interest and understanding on the issues impacting LGBT+ people through its unwillingness to end the dangerous and abusive practice of conversion therapy, only instigating a partial U-turn when they realised the extent of the public and MP support for the ban. However, the fact that the Conservatives have refused to ban the practice in relation to trans people is appalling and further evidence that the Government sees trans people as second-class citizens.

Conversion therapy is a dangerous and abusive practice that has led to countless LGBT+ people taking their own lives and many, many more suffering long-term psychological damage. It should have no place in society; a view endorsed since 2017 by the NHS, Relate, Royal College of Practitioners and many other professional medical bodies. Trans people deserve the same protection from this practice, which is described by the UN as amounting to torture, as gay and bisexual people. Government ministers need to listen to the public on this and especially LGBT+ people who have suffered so much due to the practice.

Paul added: "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. This is why we are going to continue with our petition, 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."


Additional Text for Editors

The link to our petition is here: http://medwaylibdems.org.uk/BanAllConversionTherapy

Quote: 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.

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."

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.