United Kingdom moves to outlaw gay conversion therapy

The British government has announced it will look into introducing legislation to make gay conversion therapy illegal.

The announcement came as part of a 75 point plan that aims to improve the lives of LGBTI people in Great Britain. The plan was developed from information obtained via a major government survey that was completed by 108,000 LGBTI people across the United Kingdom.

It suggested that 2% of the people surveyed had undergone a conversion process and another 5% had been approached about undertaking counselling or practices that offered to change their sexuality.

Conversion therapy is defined as a program that offers to “reduce or stop same-sex attraction or to suppress a person’s gender identity based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’,” according to equalities charity Stonewall.

Prime Minister Theresa May described the responses as “overwhelming” and “shone a light on the many areas we can improve the lives of LGBT people”.

The report also showed that many LGBTI couples feared holding hands in public something that struck a chord with the Prime Minister.

“I was struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction. No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love.

“We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT+ rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT+ people.”

Organisations that offer counselling have argued that the ban would be unfair and there are people who want help to lead a heterosexual life.

The Northern Ireland-based organisation Core Issues Trust says it “provides a space for individuals to safely explore their sexual attraction fluidity issues”.

It describes it’s techniques as “standard psycho-therapeutic practice” and insists that it does not perform “gay conversions”.

Appearing on  radio program the head of the trust, Michael Davidson, said “people have the right to decide the direction they want to go in”.

Davidson said the new proposal was the equivalent of forcing people to be gay.

“It won’t be banned ultimately because people do have the right to choose the direction that they want to go and mandatory gay just won’t work,” Mr Davidson said.

“You cannot force people to be gay just because they have the feelings.”

“I will seek legal advice and we will do the right thing, but we’ll certainly be there and available for people who’ve had enough of having a gay ideology pushed down their throat.”

Davidson claims that he was previously same-sex attracted but after focusing his efforts he’s been happily married for almost four decades.

Advocates have been pushing for Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt to bring in a similar ban in Australia. Last week the Australian Christian Lobby announced it would be launching a campaign agaisnt any attempts to stop gay conversion therapy in Australia.

OIP Staff

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