Ending Gay Conversion Therapy Once and For All

For as long as members of the LGBT+ community have been visible in society, their right to exist has been under attack. The gay community has suffered violence, discriminatory legislation, and oppressive dogmatic ideologies that not only undermine the rights people have to
self-identify and express themselves but also serve to dehumanize and degrade innocent members of society.

One way the gay identity has found itself coming under attack comes in the form of ‘Conversion Therapy’. This offers itself up as a ‘cure’ for homosexuality, treating sexual identity as a mental illness and subjecting gay men and women to ‘treatment’ that is both unethical and harmful to anyone exposed to it. It has been the subject of several Hollywood movies from Boy Erased to The Miseducation of Cameron Post

In the UK, a 2018 national survey of over 100,000 members of the LGBT+ community revealed that 2% of Britain’s gay citizens have been subjected to some form of conversion therapy with a further 5% stating that it had been offered to them. This leaves thousands of British citizens being taught that their identity is something to be cured and not something to be proud of.

With conversion therapy being an ongoing problem, it seems like little is being done to actually safeguard the rights of gay British citizens. However with Labour MP Geraint Davies having published a bill that would criminalize conversion therapy to the sum of a £5,000 fine, things could be on the brink of change.

The new law would make it an offense to “change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or suppress a person’s expression of sexual orientation or gender identity”, giving LGBT+ members of the British public some level of protection against the predatory practices that target

£5,000 may seem like a small price to pay for what amounts to homophobic abuse dressed up as therapy but it’s important these small measures are taken to ensure the LGBT+ community in Britain is given the same rights and protections as everyone else. The passing of Geraint Davies’ bill would be an important step in the right direction by criminalising something that undermines the rights of gay members of society and has been proven to have a negative impact on those that try it. Some victims even suffer from PTSD following the abuse involved in their ‘treatment’).

When addressing gay rights, it can be all too easy to view them as a solved problem instead of an ongoing struggle. In England, homosexuality was partially decriminalized in 1967 and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2014 in every part of the UK except Northern Ireland. Whilst it’s true that there’s certainly never been a better time to be gay in th UK than today, that doesn’t mean the push for human rights should end now.