Many constituents have recently been in contact with me about banning conversion therapy following a debate in the House of Commons earlier this month.
I am absolutely committed to ensuring that LGBT+ people can live in safety and dignity, and firmly believe that these exploitative and damaging LGBT+ conversion therapies must be banned. Being LGBT+ is a fundamental part of an individual’s identity, and it should never be treated as a sickness. All major UK therapy professional bodies and the NHS oppose conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy is a form of abuse and deeply harmful to mental and physical health. It is shocking that a practice with no medical or moral standing remains legal. I am very worried about the harm caused to LGBT+ people by these therapies. It is deeply concerning that the Ozanne Foundation’s 2018 Faith & Sexuality Survey found that over 58% of people who had experienced attempts to change their sexual orientation had suffered from mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Worryingly, two-thirds of those who had experienced mental health issues had experienced suicidal thoughts, and nearly a third had attempted suicide.
Conversion therapies must urgently be banned and I am proud to stand with the LGBT+ community on this issue. Following the conclusion of the 2018 LGBT Action plan which outline a ban on conversion therapy as a key recommendation, UK Government committed to bringing forward proposals to end the practice in the UK. However, despite both the last and current Prime Minister’s promising action I am deeply disappointed that, nearly three years later, we are still waiting for legislative change and I will continue to call for the government to act on this issue.
More widely, I welcome the fact that Instagram and Facebook have blocked the promotion of conversion therapy on their sites, and I hope other social media companies will follow suit.