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Undercover investigation exposes “gay conversion therapies” still happening in the UK 

A petition calling on the government to ban gay conversion therapy has been launched after it was exposed by Liverpool Echo journalist Josh Parry that the practice is still taking place in the UK.

Earlier this year a church in the northwest was found to be offering an undercover reporter the chance to “cure” himself of his homosexuality through a programme of prayer and fasting. The report made national headlines and mounting pressure was put on the government to ban the such “therapies” – which every major psychological body in the UK recognises as ineffective and dangerous.

In March, the Department of Health said it had ‘‘already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK” but now an investigation by the Liverpool Echo has exposed the truth. If the petition gets 100,000 signatures before April 2018, the government will debate the matter in parliament.

The petition reads: “Being gay is not an illness, yet to this day gay people are still offered “therapies” to cure themselves.

“This often involves electroshock, starvation and prayer therapy. This dangerous practice is not yet illegal despite all major psychological bodies ruling it not only ineffective but also harmful.

“Just months ago the government said they were satisfied they’d ‘already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK – however a recent investigation by a journalist exposed the practice happening at a church.”

Journalist Josh Parry who spearheaded the investigation and petition, said:

“Earlier this year the Department of Health acknowledged that conversion therapy is not only ineffective, but also dangerous. They also claimed they are already doing enough to make sure it doesn’t happen – however our investigation proved it still goes on today. So why haven’t they banned it yet?

“Studies show that those who undergo ‘conversion’ are 8.9x more likely to have suicidal thoughts, and 5.9x more likely to suffer depression.

“They are dangerous and do not work so today we’re calling upon the government to make offering these ‘therapies’ a criminal offence and call an end to these harmful practices once and for all.”

Resident doctor on breakfast programme This Morning, Dr Ranj Singh, today announced he is supporting the petition:

“There is no place whatsoever for so-called ‘gay cure’ or ‘conversion’ therapies in today’s world. Research tells us they don’t work, those who have experienced them tell us how abusive and harmful they are, and simple common sense tells us that we must stop these practices now.

“We need to focus on helping people to be themselves and be happy in who they are, and give them the support and acceptance they need.

“We can only do that once we send a clear message that these therapies are unacceptable, and making them illegal sends that message loud and clear.

Gay “conversion” therapy works on the incorrect premise that a person’s sexuality is changeable and may involve the administration of electric shocks or other aversive techniques in the incorrect belief such harmful practices can discourage homosexual or bisexual feelings.

Sign the petition here.

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Danielle Mustarde

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