The Queen’s Speech on May 11 laid out the UK government’s plan to ban conversion therapy. A former member of the government’s LGBT+ advisory panel Jayne Ozanne criticised the plan and said the government had created a “highly dangerous loophole” by only focusing on ‘coercive’ practices.
The government’s agenda predicted that the law to ban conversion therapy would be passed within the next year. Not only will conversion therapy be banned, but members of the LGBTQ+ community who have undergone conversion therapy will also be provided with support.
Published documents said that a consultation would be launched before the conversion therapy ban was finalised. The government said it would ban conversion therapy while ensuring the ban did not have “unintended consequences”. It added that people such as medical professionals, teachers and religious leaders would be able to have “open and honest” conversations.
CEO of Stonewall Nancy Kelley said that “We don’t need a consultation to know that all practices that seek to convert, suppress, cure or change us are dangerous, abusive and must be banned.”
Jayne Ozanne had resigned from the government’s LGBT+ advisory panel due to the delay in passing laws regarding conversion therapy. Ozanne said that “The government is creating a highly dangerous loophole by focusing purely on ‘coercive’ practices.” She added that the UK government needed to ban conversion therapy in every aspect, as LGBTQ+ people in religious settings would be susceptible to following a leaders advice, even if it was harmful.
“The government needs to do what the UN has called for — a full ban on conversion practices,” said Ozanne.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had described conversion therapy as “abhorrent” in July 2020. The Evangelical Alliance, a Christian group representing 3,500 churches, wrote a letter to Johnson. It said that a conversion therapy ban would criminalise “common church activities”. In response, Johnson said that the ban would not apply to adults seeking “pastoral support”.
Campaigners for the ban grew concerned that exceptions for the ban would be made for religious institutions.