In her first major ceremonial outing since the death of Prince Philip, the Queen has finally made good on Theresa May’s 2018 promise to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales. While some further consultation around the protection of religious freedom is likely, it is expected that a bill banning the practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity will pass with opposition support within the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who as Mayor of London banned advertisements for conversion therapy on London Underground, has previously described the practice as “abhorrent”.
The government’s failure to implement the promised ban is said to have contributed to the resignation in March 2021 of equality adviser Jayne Ozanne.
Ms Ozanne told ITV News: “Whilst I warmly welcome the news that there is finally to be a ban, I am concerned that we are going to have yet more consultation.
“The government simply need to protect the lives of all LGBT people by doing what the UN has advised and banning all forms of conversion therapy, including religious practices.
“They have consulted long enough, now it is time to act and bring forward legislation that protects everyone from this inhumane and degrading abuse.”
Stonewall defines conversion therapy as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity.
“It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. These therapies are both unethical and harmful.”
Many forms of the practice are already prevented under current legislation, but this new ban will ensure that it is stamped out once and for all.
New funding will also be made available to increase the support available for victims of conversion therapy, the first time a government has offered this in the UK. This support is expected to be in place by summer.
Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, said: “As a global leader on LGBT rights, this government has always been committed to stamping out the practice of conversion therapy.
“We want to make sure that people in this country are protected, and these proposals mean nobody will be subjected to coercive and abhorrent conversion therapy.
“Alongside this legislation, we will make new funding available to ensure that victims have better access to the support they need.”