Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has spoken at the PinkNews Awards to say “we must stamp out” gay cure therapies in the UK.
The Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities spoke at the awards, held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 21 October, to present the award for Community Group of the Year.
As well as saying her department had made progress on tackling homophobic, biphobia and transphobic bullying, Mrs Morgan went on to say that the controversial practice of ‘gay cure’ therapies must be eradicated.
She said: “I was shocked to discover that one in 10 social and healthcare staff have heard colleagues express the belief that someone can be cured of being gay.
“Let me be clear: gay cure therapies have no place in our countries and we must stamp them out.”
She also laid out her plans for future work on LGBT rights, both within education and in the wider government.
The MP said of education: “I wanted to share some of my priorities in the months ahead.
“They are further work on homophobic bullying, building on the £2 million investment in projects to tackle it. I’ve already seen some of the fantastic work this has generated – and I look forward to seeing more in the coming months.
“Secondly, a clear focus on trans young people. Not only addressing transphobic bullying, but also making sure trans young people get the support and information they need.
“Thirdly, high quality PSHE which better teaches young people understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity, and at the same time ensures that LGBT young people know how to avoid risks and stay safe.
“Finally, support for LGBT young people who aren’t currently in education, training or employment.
“We know LGBT young people can drop out of education early for lots of reasons, from bullying to a need to move out of the home due to homophobia. I want to get them back into education and work, and make sure it’s not only school, but further education and apprenticeship providers that are taking seriously their responsibility to tackle homophobia and transphobia.”
She added: “We’re determined to support LGBT people throughout their lives. Figures released last week show the shocking extent of homophobic hate crime in our communities – while the increase in reporting is welcome, the fact that thousands of LGBT young people are experiencing hate crime in 21st century Britain cannot be right, and we must do more to tackle it.
“We will also take just as tough an approach to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse online as we do offline.
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“I was shocked to discover that one in 10 social and healthcare staff have heard colleagues express the belief that someone can be cured of being gay. Let me be clear: gay cure therapies have no place in our countries and we must stamp them out.
“In the same vein, the Prime Minister has made clear that we do more to tackle not just violent extremism, but nonviolent extremism that encourages intolerance and hatred towards LGBT people.
“Finally, we have to look beyond our own shores as Diane [Abbott] has said, and we continue to use our influence to help LGBT people around the world. We won’t do this by lecturing or pointing fingers, but by supporting activists and groups on the ground, helping them to learn the lessons from our journey towards equality under the law.”
“Though it might sound trite to say it, equality is a human right, which is why the Government Equality Office has produced £100,000 to those international projects.”
Concluding, she said: “Nobody should be discriminated against because of who they love. Nobody should live in fear, see opportunities lost or doors closed, simply because of who they are.
“Ultimately real change doesn’t come from Westminster – it comes from you. Groups, communities, businesses and schools. People on the ground. That’s why I’m delighted to present the award for Community Group of the Year.”
The Community Group of the Year Award was given to the YesEquality, which campaigned for equal marriage in Ireland, ahead of the country’s referendum earlier this year.
Other speakers included former Labour leader Ed Miliband, human rights minister Baroness Anelay, shadow international development secretary Diane Abbott, and BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire.
The PinkNews Awards are generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group.