80 LGBT+ campaigners rallied to tell Boris: #StopDithering
London, UK – 24 June 2021
Eighty opponents of the abusive practice of LGBT+ conversion therapy protested outside the Cabinet Office & Government Equalities Office on Whitehall last night, Wednesday 23 June at 6pm.
A letter was delivered to equalities minister, Liz Truss, with a 7,500-signature petition, urging the government to #StopDithering and immediately ban conversion therapy. It was handed in by veteran LGBT+ and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Jayne Ozanne of the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition and Rev Colin Coward.
The protest was supported by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Ozanne Foundation, OneBodyOneFaith, Naz and Matt Foundation, Trans Actual UK, Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, Sparkle, House of Rainbow, Out and Proud African LGBTI and Pakistani and Bangladeshi LGBT+ refugees who fled bids to change their sexuality.
The UK government promised to ban the abusive practice in July 2018 and three years later it has repeated the promise but not introduced legislation.
The ‘It’s a Sin’ star, actor Stephen Fry, supported the #StopDithering petition and has urged a swift ban on conversion therapy
Stephen Fry said: “Any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is unethical. I urge you to sign this petition and call on the UK government to act swiftly to honour its pledge to make this cruel, contemptuous and harmful practice illegal.”
Peter Tatchell added: “The government has said conversion therapy is a complex issue but Germany and states in the US and Australia have successfully banned it – and Canada is about to ban it. The Australian state of Victoria recently passed legislation that could be easily and quickly adapted for the UK.
“Liz Truss is insisting on another needless, time-wasting consultation. LGBT+ conversion treatments have been condemned by all major UK medical, psychological and counselling organisations.
“Government ministers have had three years to consult with LGBT+ organisations but so far they have consulted with very few of us. Reports suggest, however, that they have been in contact with religious groups who practice or support these abusive therapies.
Jayne Ozanne, chair of the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition, said:
“It is now three years since the government committed to end “conversion therapy” and four years since the Church of England called on the government to ban it. Tragically, during this time countless LGBT+ people have been scarred for life by those who continue to conduct these degrading and harmful practices with impunity. We need urgent action not yet more consultation. Specifically, we need a meaningful ban that protects all LGBT+ people from all forms of abuse, including religious practices – which constitute the most common form of ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK today.”
Mr Tatchell concluded: “While Boris Johnson and Liz Truss procrastinate, LGBT+ people continue to suffer as a result of this quack practice, which has been linked to anxiety, depression and self-harm.
“Attempts to shame or pressure a person into denying a core part of who they are can have a devastating impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
“These therapies are immoral, ineffective and damaging. No one should be told their sexual orientation or gender identity is something that is flawed and requires changing. The practice is based on the bigoted assumption that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans is a defect or illness that should be ‘cured’”, said Mr Tatchell.
Note: LGBT+ Conversion therapy refers to any physical, psychological, religious, cultural or counselling practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or suppress a person’s gender identity.