Tory equalities minister Liz Truss promises to protect trans people from ‘horrific’ conversion therapy
Speaking on ITV political interview programme Peston, Truss sought to soothe fears held among some lawmakers and advocates that the proposals in the pipeline will not include trans people.
Truss told host Robert Peston: “I’m very clear that we want to make sure that transgender people are free to live their lives and don’t face the type of horrific conversion therapy that currently has been going on here in the UK.”
“We want to make sure that transgender people are free to live their lives and don't face…horrific conversion therapy”
— Peston (@itvpeston) March 24, 2021
One of the nation’s top LGBT+ charities, Stonewall, cautiously welcomed the “clear commitment” from Truss in a tweet.
“It is vital that the forthcoming legislative ban promised by government protects trans people from conversion therapy in all its forms, including medical, psychiatric, psychological, religious and cultural practices,” it wrote.
Nearly 1,000 days on, conversion therapy ban remains just words, no actions
As it inches towards 1,000 days since the Conservatives pledged to “eradicate” conversion therapy in its LGBT Action Plan, the government has been criticised for its sluggishness in actually bringing the life-changing legislation forward.
Eight political parties took a collective swing at the government for its pledge seemingly tapering over the years in a letter earlier this month.
They urged the government to introduce a sprawling legislative ban. Without it, they said, the government “cannot end conversion therapy”.
“The longer we wait, the weaker the words and intentions sound,” the letter added.
Members of parliament have also joined the chorus of criticism, calling on the government to both curb the debunked and dangerous practice and ensure that the law takes into account trans conversion therapies, too.
Indeed, how the pseudoscience erodes the lives of some trans youth has vastly flown under the radar under parliamentary discussions and press interviews on the issue. “They are by far and away the most vulnerable group amongst those in the LGBT+ community,” one lawmaker has said.
The government was even stung by its own advisory board on LGBT+ rights, as multiple high-profile members sensationally resigned. They cited their frustration at the Tories’ inaction on the issue, whom they say have fostered a “hostile environment” for queer people.
While prime minister Boris Johnson apologised to the three LGBT+ Advisory Panel members, he stressed that the ban is “technically complex”.
Truss, among other senior equalities officeholders, has responded to the claims of gingerness in recent weeks by reaffirming the years-long promise. The ban to end the “abhorrent” practise will be brought “shortly”, she said.
Yet, no Government Equalities Office official has provided a timeline of when the ban will be introduced, let alone actual details of what the ban may look like. Some have resisted calls to even refer to the pitch as a “ban”.
But the Tories have faced fire from all sides with the ban. The proposals to stamp out gay and trans conversion therapies have faced pushback from top faith groups and anti-trans lobbyists, such as the LGB Alliance.