Guidance Notes for Individuals: Ban Conversion Therapy - Open Consultation

Guidance Notes for Individuals – Ban Conversion Therapy Consultation

The UK Government recently released its proposals for how it intends to ban conversion therapy in legislation, and now they are consulting on the details.

In their current form, the Government’s Conversion Therapy proposals are inadequate, unacceptable, not fit-for-purpose and contain significant, major loopholes.

The proposals do not provide sufficient protections for LGBTQ+ individuals within religious, cultural and family settings.

Some of our main concerns, of which have been communicated by our charity directly to the Government Equalities Office who are responsible for leading on this legislation.

  1. “Conversion Practices” vs. “Conversion Therapy” – The widely used definition of “Conversion Therapy” is increasingly being misunderstood to mean that the ban is only needed to stop ‘attempted conversions’ taking place within religious or therapeutic settings. However this is just the tip of the iceberg and and issue lies so much deeper than this. The ban needs to cover any attempt to change or suppress an LGBTQ+ person’s sexuality or gender identity – in any setting – including within familial settings, community settings, religious settings, online, at home, at places of worship, at ‘bootcamps’. “Conversion Practices” is a more suitable term to use within the final legislation.
  2. Suppression – The definition of the conversion therapy within Government’s proposal’s does not include any references to “suppression”. This significant omission is huge hole that creates a loophole sufficient enough to void the entirety of the proposed ban. Parents who attempt to suppress, hide or change the sexual orientation or gender identity of their LGBTQ+ child must be prevented from doing so.
    1. For example, a parent emotionally blackmailing their LGBTQ+ child to marry someone of the opposite sex under duress, as an attempt to suppress or hide their child’s sexuality, is a form of ‘conversion practice’ and must stopped with this legislation. Existing laws on forced marriage or domestic abuse are not effective in this area.
  3. The following caveat including in the proposals within “4. Summary of proposals” must be changed. As it is currently written it creates a loophole sufficient enough to allow these abusive and harmful practices to continue. Parents must not be allowed
    1. “The policy approach set out below will not impact everyday religious practice. An adult who wants to be supported to be celibate will be free to do so, parents will remain able to raise their children with the values of their faith, and simply expressing the teachings of a religion will not constitute conversion therapy. The government will continue to work with faith communities to develop an approach that is effective in protecting people from harm, while also respecting the right to freedom of religion and belief.”
  4. There are no references to culture within the proposals. Cultural practices that try to hide, suppress or change a person’s sexual orientation must also stopped. In many of the cases our charity supports both culture and religion are used by parents for the justification of the actions.
  5. Consent, coercion and duress.
  6. There are no references within the proposals to how and who will enforce this legislation. Will the police and social services be trained, funded and willing to respect and enforce this ban? Will funding be available to front line service like ours to provide support and guidance to affected individuals?
  7. Advertising/promotion guidelines, particularly on social media, are not sufficient in providing sufficient

Without these holes being closed the legislation will be ineffective and pointless.

It’s important for us all to make our voices heard on this – to make sure the ban on conversion therapy is comprehensive and has no exemptions for religious or cultural practices that lead to harm to LGBTQIA+ individuals. No person should ever be subjected to this abuse.

Members of the Ban Conversion Therapy coalition, of which we are part of, have produced the following set of guidance notes to help individuals understand and complete the Government’s consultation response.

Guidance Notes

Produced by the Ban Conversion Therapy coalition

UK Government’s current set of proposals

UK Government’s consultation page


Learn more about the Ban Conversion Therapy coalition

Ban Conversion Therapy was created in July 2020 calling on the UK Government to commit to a full legislative ban.

We are a coalition of LGBTQIA+ and faith communities and organisations, and mental health practitioners united in calling for the Government to Ban Conversion Therapy and support victims and survivors.