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Home  »   LGBT+Latest News   »   PDA LGBT+ Network responds to government consultation on conversion therapy

PDA LGBT+ Network responds to government consultation on conversion therapy

The government has committed to banning so-called conversion therapy, a practice in which attempts are made to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of an LGBT+ person.

Mon 24th January 2022 The PDA

In October 2021, the Minister for Women and Equalities launched a consultation on the government’s proposed approach to banning conversion therapy. In response, members of the PDA LGBT+ Network met virtually to discuss the proposals and formulate a response reflective of the membership.

During the meeting, members critiqued the document and shared their experiences and perspectives of conversion therapy (5% of LGBT+ people have been offered this according to the National LGBT Survey 2017). The meeting was successful and contributed to the PDA LGBT+ Network Committee’s written response to the government’s consultation.

The PDA LGBT+ Network believes that conversion therapy should be banned without exception. In response, the network urges the government to abandon its proposal to allow adults to consent to conversion therapy, and feels it is flawed to suggest that a person can give their informed consent to an ineffective and harmful practice built upon an exploitative power dynamic. The network is also concerned about the potential loophole introduced to the proposed ban under the guise of religious freedom, and feels that clarity is required to ensure that the ban is in line with Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights which states that freedom of belief does not justify degrading treatment.

The consultation document sets out its goal of creating a ‘symmetrical’ and ‘universal’ ban which would prohibit attempts to ‘convert’ a cisgender or heterosexual person to align with an LGBT+ identity, a non-existent practice.

Scott Rutherford, President of the PDA LGBT+ Network, highlighted the danger of this idea and said, “a ‘symmetrical’ ban is not based on evidence and risks harming the people that this legislation ought to protect. The idea is reminiscent of Section 28, a Thatcher-era piece of legislation that banned the so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, silencing LGBT+ people and their allies, and preventing the affirmation of LGBT+ people. The rebirth of this principle would be a disaster.”

The PDA LGBT+ Network welcomes the government’s intention to mandate training and policy related to conversion therapy in healthcare settings, to introduce Conversion Therapy Protection Orders. The network feels that despite the failings of the proposal, it is a promising first step and also welcomes longer sentences for violent offences motivated by the intent to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.


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Get involved

  • Join the PDA LGBT+ network here.
  • Follow the PDA LGBT+ Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAlgbt
  • Contact the PDA LGBT+ Network committee know by emailing



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