A petition has been launched to make gay cure therapy illegal in the UK.
It is currently legal to practice the so-called therapy, though it is banned on the NHS.
LGBT activists have called for the practise to be outlawed, but a previous petition on the issue was rejected by the government.
At the time a minister claimed the government is “not aware” of gay cure therapy being carried out in the UK – just a week after a man who practises the debunked therapy was interviewed on Good Morning Britain.
Now an undercover journalist who exposed a church practicing gay cure therapy has launched a new petition to have it banned.
Josh Parry, a Liverpool Echo journalist behind the investigation who launched the petition, said: “Earlier this year the Department of Health acknowledged that conversion therapy is not only ineffective, but also dangerous.
“They also claimed they are already doing enough to make sure it doesn’t happen – however our investigation proved it still goes on today.
“So why haven’t they banned it yet?
“Studies show that those who undergo ‘conversion’ are 8.9x more likely to have suicidal thoughts, and 5.9x more likely to suffer depression.
“They are dangerous and do not work so today we’re calling upon the government to make offering these ‘therapies’ a criminal offence and call an end to these harmful practices once and for all.”
If the petition gets 100,000 signatures before April 27 2018, the government will be forced to debate the matter in parliament.
Dr Ranj Singh, resident doctor on This Morning, today backed the petition and called for gay conversion therapy to be banned.
He said: “There is no place whatsoever for so-called ‘gay cure’ or ‘conversion’ therapies in today’s world.
“Research tells us they don’t work, those who have experienced them tell us how abusive and harmful they are, and simple common sense tells us that we must stop these practices now.
“We need to focus on helping people to be themselves and be happy in who they are, and give them the support and acceptance they need.
“We can only do that once we send a clear message that these therapies are unacceptable, and making them illegal sends that message loud and clear.
“Gay and LGBT+ people don’t need to change – the law does.”
Conservative Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price claimed there is no evidence of “widespread” gay cure therapy in the UK earlier this year.
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She claimed: “We are not aware of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy happening in the United Kingdom.”
Ms Doyle-Price’s claim that the government is “not aware” of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy is surprising, just one week after a gay cure therapist was interviewed on Good Morning Britain.
The popular ITV show invited Dr Michael Davidson, who claims he could stop people being gay, on air to discuss his practises.
Dr Davidson explained that he has a thriving business, explaining: “in the last year I’m seeing up to 14 a week, many of them are in therapy for up to two years.”.
The incident attracted attention after host Piers Morgan branded Dr Davidson a “bigot”, while LGBT groups also condemned the segment for giving a platform to incorrect claims about sexuality.
Mr Doyle-Price’s reply said: “This Government does not recognise so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ as a legitimate treatment. A person’s sexual orientation is not an illness to be cured.
“We have already worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy, to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to put a stop to this practice.
“We are not aware of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy happening in the United Kingdom, but we want to get a better idea of the extent to which it is being practised.
“That is why we included questions on this topic in our national LGBT survey, which was launched this summer. We will publish the survey results and our response in the new year.”