The much-delayed ban of conversion therapy by the government in the UK has begun its public consultations today and a lot of people had words to say about it.
The Government Equalities Office said: “We recognise there is a plurality of experience in this area and that there are adults who seek counselling to help them live a life that they feel is more in line with their personal beliefs. We do not intend to ban adults from seeking such counselling freely, but consent requirements will be robust and stringent.”
This is where there is a bit of a problem as most experts believe that consent cannot be given at any age. Jayne Ozanne, who quit the government’s LGBT advisory panel back in March said she was “deeply concerned about the loophole it creates by allowing adults to consent to these harmful and degrading practices”.
Talking to the told the Guardian, she said: “The consultation document makes little mention of the harm that religious practices are known to cause, nor does it recognise that the government’s own research has shown that these form the majority of such practices in the UK – instead it focuses on ‘talking therapies’ in clinical settings. This is a grave mistake and will come as a severe blow to all survivors who have bravely shared their stories in the hope that the government will protect others. We have been saying this to government for years … but sadly few in government want to engage with these facts.”
Under the new proposals, conversion therapy of ANY kind will be banned in England and Wales for anyone under the age of 18, and adults who are vulnerable and not able to properly consent. The government said any type of the practice that involves physical or sexual violence is already illegal under existing legislation.
The government has been setting out proposals for how they plan to crack down on “coercive and abhorrent” practices that seek to change sexual orientation or gender identity but it’s clear that there is a LOT of work to be done.