August 10, 2020

Elton John, Dua Lipa and Jade Thirlwall among stars to call for end to 'conversion therapy'

July 10, 2020

Celebrities including Elton John, Dua Lipa and Jade Thirlwall have signed a letter calling on the government to ban so-called "conversion therapy" for LGBT+ people.

The letter, which has also been signed by representatives from the UK's five major faith groups and LGBT+ activists, urges Liz Truss, the minister for women and equalities, to "introduce a truly effective ban on 'conversion therapy'".

The charity Stonewall defines "conversion therapy", sometimes known as "cure therapy", as practices which aim "to change a person's sexual orientation or to suppress a person's gender identity".

These practices are often based on the assumption that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or any other part of the LGBT+ community, is a mental illness that can be cured.

"Let's end it now," the letter says.

"Let's finish what was pledged two years ago and ban 'conversion therapy' for all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and gender diverse people, of all ages.

"Until you do, torture will continue to take place on British soil."

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims classifies "conversion therapy" as torture.

Other well-known signatories include musicians Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, and Years and Years' Olly Alexander.

Comedians Katherine Ryan and Mae Martin, and TV writer Russell T Davies, have also put their names to the letter.

Three LGBT+ MPs also appear as signatories - Labour's Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle, and Lib Dem leadership candidate Layla Moran, who came out as pansexual earlier this year.

A Memorandum Of Understanding On Conversion Therapy in the UK was signed in 2017 by all major medical and psychotherapy groups, including the NHS, the Royal College of GPs, and The British Psychological Society.

The Memorandum was a public commitment by the organisations to end the practice in the UK.

The following year, the then prime minister Theresa May promised to eradicate "conversion therapy", describing the practice as "abhorrent".

But two years on, it is still legal in the UK.

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The government has promised to ban the process, and last month Ms Truss told the House of Commons that her department would set out plans for this "shortly".

"'Conversion therapy' is a vile and abhorrent practice we want to stop," she said.

"We've commissioned research to look at the scope of these practices in the UK."

Ms Truss said she was concerned about under-18s being "coerced" into "so-called 'conversion therapies'", adding: "That is one of the specific points that we will be addressing when we launch our plans shortly."

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