Boris Johnson has promised to abolish gay ‘conversion therapy’.
The practice – which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association – refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.
It’s been two years since the UK’s then-prime minster Theresa May said it was a priority to “end the practice of conversion therapy” as part of a 75-point plan to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people across the country.
“No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love. [The plan will] set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society,” May said at the time.
Speaking at a school visit in Kent on Monday (20 July), Johnson described gay ‘conversion therapy’ as “absolutely abhorrent” and said it has “no place in a civilised society, and has no place in this country.”
“What we are going to do is a study right now on, you know, where is this actually happening, how prevalent is it, and we will then bring forward plans to ban it,” he added.
In a statement, The Ban Conversion Therapy campaign said they were “delighted that Boris Johnson has listened to our calls for a ban on conversion therapy” and that “LGBTQ+ people have been tortured for long enough.”
Gendered Intelligence, a charity devoted to improving the lives of trans people, said: “Whilst we hope the prime minister used ‘gay conversion therapy’ for brevity, we must ensure the ban on conversion therapy covers all LGBT people, including trans people.
“We have to make sure we don’t allow trans conversion therapy through the backdoor.”
An open letter to Johnson and Downing Street calling for a full ban on gay ‘conversion therapy’ for all LGBTQ+ people in the UK has also attracted the support of numerous celebrities.
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