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Tories join all other major parties in committing to end traumatising conversion therapy

Emma Powys Maurice December 11, 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has passed a major milestone for his Brexit deal. (Getty)

In an exclusive interview for PinkNews, Boris Johnson has joined all other major parties in pledging to end conversion therapy in the UK, despite including no mention of it in his manifesto.

So-called conversion therapy refers to the harmful and discredited practise of attempting to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity. There are many different techniques, including electric shocks and testosterone injections, but no reliable scientific evidence that sexuality can be changed.

Following the EU’s call in 2018 for all member states to ban conversion therapy, the Conservatives’ LGBT Action Plan promised to bringing forward proposals to end the “abhorrent” practice in the UK, but so far this has not happened.

The Conservative party leader was asked by PinkNews why his manifesto doesn’t include a commitment to push forward with any of the reforms outlined in the LGBT Action Plan, which includes the outlawing of gay conversion therapy.

On the eve of the election, Johnson replied: “We will support marginalised communities in the developing world, hosting the UK government’s first ever international LGBT+ conference. We remain committed to the LGBT+ Action Plan, including ending the practice of gay conversion therapy.”

No party included a pledge to ban conversion therapy in their election manifestos but spokespeople for Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party confirmed they would end the practice if elected.

The Brexit Party is the only UK party not to have a policy on conversion therapy, due to the fact that they don’t mention LGBT+ people at any point in their manifesto. But a party spokesperson claimed: “We have no plans whatsoever to introduce any policies that will adversely impact the lives of LGBT people.”

Protesters held a ‘bum boys against Boris Johnson’ protest outside Downing Street (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/Getty)

PinkNews also confronted Johnson on his use of the term “tank-topped bum boy” to describe Labour MP Peter Mandelson at a time when his sexuality was not publicly known. The prime minister stressed that he’s not a homophobe, but fell short of apologising for his use of homophobic slurs in the past.

“I’ve written many millions of words in my time as a journalist, and I’ve never intended to cause hurt or pain to anybody,” he said.

More: Boris Johnson, conservatives, conversion therapy, election manifesto

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