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What is so called, “conversion therapy”?

Conversion ‘therapy’ or practices are any kind of treatment or psychological therapy that aims to suppress, “cure” or change sexual orientation and/or gender identity. For example, gay to straight, transgender to cisgender.

What has happened so far?

In 2018 the UK Government said they were going to ban conversion ‘therapy’ for all LGBT+ people in their LGBT Action Plan (a set of goals the Government were aiming to achieve throughout their time in power). 

After over a thousand days of delay, in 2021 they committed to banning conversion ‘therapy’ for all LGBT people, but they are still yet to actually ban it.

What will happen next?

If the Government goes ahead with the ban, the first thing that will happen is that the Government will introduce a draft ‘Bill’ and then the parliamentary process will start. The ‘parliamentary process’ is when MPs and House of Lords peers will debate what the law should say exactly.

What has the Government said recently?

On Trans Day of Visibility this year (31 March 2022) it was leaked to the media that the Government was planning to drop the ban on conversion ‘therapy’. Rightly so, lots of people were angry about this and emailed their MPs. Within a few hours the Government had changed their position to only committing to banning conversion ‘therapy’ for gay and bisexual individuals, but not for trans people. 

This means the Government isn’t planning on banning conversion ‘therapy’ for the trans community – this leaves us at risk because it means that conversion ‘therapy’ would still be legal if it happened to a trans person.

The Public Said, “Trans Rights!”

In response to the Government’s actions over 20,000 people have written to their local MPs telling the Government that they should include trans people in the ban, and, over 100 LGBT+, HIV and Religious charities and organisations publicly said they would not take part in the Government’s LGBT+ conference (Safe To Be Me) that was planned to go ahead this year. This means that lots and lots of people are very angry and there is a huge community of people who support trans rights. We know the public at large support trans rights, which is why the Government’s decision to exclude trans people is even more confusing.

What does this mean for you?

Conversion ‘therapy’ has nothing to do with accessing healthcare and will not make it any harder to access it either. 

As a human right, you are entitled to not be abused in this way. If you are worried that you are currently going through, or have gone through conversion ‘therapy’ please reach out for support.

What can you do to help?

Email your MP to tell them you are unhappy with their decision and that they must include trans people in the ban. You can do this through our website with a prewritten email here.

Mermaids exists to support trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families. If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out to our helpline, we are here for you: 0808 801 0400.

Are you a survivor?

There is support out there for those of you who are worried you have or have gone through conversion ‘therapy’. 

You can contact the dedicated conversion therapy helpline run by experienced LGBT+ staff. The helpline is open to all LGBT+ people in the UK who are victims of so-called “conversion therapy”, or who think they might be at risk. 

The service is run by LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop, which works directly with thousands of LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence every year. 

The National Conversion Therapy Helpline is open 10:00-16:00, Monday to Friday on 0800 130 3335, or you can email [email protected]

Please note this guide does not constitute legal advice.