Many constituents have been contacting me about conversion therapy.

I completely agree that LGBT+ conversion therapies – which are exploitative and damaging – should be banned as a matter of urgency, including for trans people.

As you are no doubt aware, last October the Government published its long-awaited consultation on proposals to ban conversion therapy. The consultation closed on 4 February 2022, and the Government advised that it was in the process of analysing the responses received and preparing legislation for the spring. It then briefed that it was going to drop the ban on conversion therapy entirely, before changing its mind again to reinstate its commitment to a ban except for trans people. This decision is outrageous and led the Government’s own LGBT+ adviser to quit his position.

Like many of you, I am greatly concerned that ministers want to exclude trans people from a ban. They should be listening to survivors of these harmful practices and the wider LGBT+ community, and it is high time that legislation was introduced, including protection orders for people who are vulnerable to pressure to suppress, deny or forcibly change their sexuality or gender identity.

In the UK all major therapy professional bodies and the NHS oppose conversion therapy. There is also a broad consensus from faith leaders across the diversity of faith communities in the UK that conversion therapy is abuse, and in December 2020, a significant cross-faith conference of leaders supported a ban.

Let me assure you that I will continue to support a complete ban so that LGBT+ people can live their lives with equality, dignity and respect.

Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central

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