Unpacking research into the prevalence of conversion therapy by therapists in the UK

Nov 21, 2021 by

by Peter Jenkins, Transgender Trend:

Pressure on the UK government to bring in a legal ban on all forms of conversion therapy is clearly ramping up, with the publication of the government’s Consultation document (HMG, 2021). Conversion therapy, or enforced change of sexual orientation or gender identity, is to be outlawed. As one MP described it, “the only people who are speaking in defence of conversion therapy are quacks, bigots and bullies. They need to be called out for what they are, and their dreadful activities and consequences criminalised” (HoC, 2021).

The evidence for the incidence of conversion therapy is apparently contained in the Government Equalities Office own LGBT survey of 2018 (GEO, 2018). According to another MP speaking in the same debate, this survey provides “a clear picture of the geographic spread and the demography of conversion therapies across the UK” (HoC, 2021). The Government’s own research, commissioned from Coventry University, into the effects, rather than the prevalence of conversion therapy, has already been comprehensively critiqued elsewhere (Sex Matters, 2021).

Comparisons are drawn with similar legal bans on conversion therapy either recently introduced, or in progress, in other countries, such as Malta, Germany, Canada, and Ireland. However, recent research suggesting that the much vaunted criminal ban on conversion therapy in Victoria, Australia rests on a slim evidence base of just 15 survey respondents should perhaps give us pause for just a moment’s thought (Jenkins, 2021).

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