Activism

Petition to ban trans conversion therapy gets over 115,000 signatures

Trans conversion therapy

Protesters at a trans rights march in Manchester. Image: Oriel Frankie Ashcroft / pexels

A petition calling on the government to include trans people in any conversion therapy ban has received over 115,000 signatures in 6 days.

Parliament must consider holding a debate on any petition with over 100,000 signatures, meaning the petition’s authors should receive a response soon.

“It’s shameful that the UK intends to deliberately exclude trans people from a ban in contrast to the approach taken by many countries,” reads the petition, started by a Sammantha Harris, “despite trans people being at a greater risk of experiencing the harmful & degrading practices.

“The government’s own figures show that trans people are nearly twice as likely to be at risk of experiencing the harmful & degrading practices of conversion therapy. A ban needs to ensure all forms of conversion therapy are banned.”

Hundreds of people protested outside Downing Street on Sunday April 10 at the government’s decision to ban conversion therapy for lesbian, gay and bisexual people but not trans people.

Conversion therapy practices attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The government says “there is no robust evidence” of its efficacy, and LGBT advocates say the practices “can and do cause significant long-term harm to victims”.

The petition comes after leaked documents revealed that the Prime Minister had decided to scrap plans to ban conversion therapy, despite having previously pledged to do so.

Following widespread backlash, the government U-turned again, announcing that they will be banning conversion practices for gay people, but that trans people would not be protected by the ban.

In protest, 125 LGBTQ+ groups pulled out of the government’s global LGBT+ conference, causing the event to be cancelled.

Conservative MP Jamie Wallis, who recently came out as the UK’s first trans MP, wrote that he was “bitterly disappointed at the government’s decision”.

“If the conversion therapy ban passes through parliament without any protections for the transgender community, it cannot be described as anything other than a broken promise”, Wallis added.

“There is no justifiable reason to abandon this ban”, says the charity Gendered Intelligence.

“The only reason for abandoning this ban – and particularly for singling out trans and non-binary people for exemptions – is to stoke the ‘culture war’ with attacks on LGBT+ rights.”

“To allow conversion practices of any kind to continue in law is to endorse violence against marginalised communities. To exclude trans and non-binary people from legal protections is to allow a legalised form of torture for a specific group of people.”

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