LGBT+ groups’ ‘deep concern’ over minister’s approach

Mar 11, 2021 by

from BBC News:

LGBT+ organisations and campaigners have written to the equalities minister to express “deep concern” over her response to calls to ban “conversion therapy” in England and Wales.

The letter to Kemi Badenoch comes after two advisers quit the government’s LGBT advisory panel in protest.

She said on Monday that ministers did not want to make seeking “spiritual counselling” on sexuality illegal.

But the government has pledged to “work at pace” to “end” conversion therapy.

The term describes many forms of treatment or psychotherapy aimed at changing sexual orientation or gender identity – ranging from electric shock treatment to religious teaching and discussion.

All forms of conversion therapy are banned in Switzerland and parts of Australia, Canada and the US.

MPs from across the political spectrum backed a similar plan for England and Wales during a debate in Parliament on Monday, prompted by a petition signed by more than 250,000 people.

Ms Badenoch said conversion therapy had “no place in a civilised society”, but added that “robust” laws were already in place to deal with the most troubling examples, involving violence and sexual assault.

And the government did not want to stop those who “seek spiritual counselling as they explore their sexual orientation”, she added.

But campaigners have said the government is “dragging its feet” and that all forms of conversion therapy – including courses and discussion groups – must be made illegal.

The letter to Ms Badenoch was co-ordinated by Jayne Ozanne, who resigned from the advisory panel on Wednesday accusing ministers of creating a “hostile environment” for LGBT+ people.

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