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New Government direction on conversion practice ban

GI's view on the latest news from Government on banning conversion practices.

We welcome the news that the UK government is once again committing to a ban on conversion practices, particularly as the announcement suggests that the proposed ban will once again be inclusive of gender identity.

However, we remain cautious until we see action and legislation. Since Theresa May pledged to ban conversion practices in 2018 the government has deferred and backslid at every step, culminating in the disastrous series of U-turns by Boris Johnson last year that left trans people excluded and the future of the ban uncertain.

It also remains to be seen what exactly the ban will cover. It’s not clear whether it will cover adults who ‘consent’. Of course, no one can consent to conversion practices, any more than anyone can consent to other forms of abuse. All this loophole does is make it easier for abusers to coerce their targets into conversion practices without fear of reprisal. Likewise, it’s unclear whether the ban will cover faith-based settings. A ban that goes ahead with these loopholes would be toothless - it’s not a ban unless everyone is protected.

This news doesn’t - and shouldn’t - distract from the other egregious and open harms the Conservatives continue to inflict upon trans people. We note the timing of this announcement coincides with the decision to block gender recognition reforms in Scotland that would have brought comfort and dignity to Scottish trans people. Progress now doesn’t mean that the government is now championing trans rights, nor does it change the fact that what should have been a simple and effective win for the LGBT+ community was turned into a long and painful charade. We hope against hope that this year will see us protected at long last from conversion practices, but we do not trust that this is the end of this government’s anti-trans agenda.

It is clear that the Prime Minister’s office has been surprised by the widespread cross-party and public support for a total ban. We hope that this is the beginning of serious, sensible, and long overdue action on this heinous form of abuse.

We have had endless consultations, exhaustive discussions, and ample opportunity for scrutiny. No more excuses, no more delays, no more loopholes. Just get it done.

Editors: email publicengagement@genderedintelligence.co.uk 

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