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Defiant MP skewers LGB Alliance for spewing ‘nonsense, fake news and misinformation’ around conversion therapy

Josh Milton March 30, 2021
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MP skewers LGB Alliance for spewing 'fake news' over conversion therapy

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone. (Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

A Scottish lawmaker has skewered the LGB Alliance for spewing “nonsense, fake news and misinformation” after it said trans conversion therapy for minors should not be banned by the government.

Jamie Stone, a Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, lambasted the high-decibel anti-trans lobbying group for “masquerading as LGBT+ allies”, a sentiment similarly expressed by top Pride organisers and trade unions.

He told PinkNews how the group sent him a “horrific” email that said that banning trans conversion therapy for youth would “would criminalise therapists who want to do their job”.

Indeed, Stone receives countless emails per day in his parliamentary email. But this one immediately grabbed his attention.

It seemed harmless enough. An email all too common these days — a call in support of a conversion therapy ban, or so it seemed.

The email was from the LGB Alliance, whose members have sought to drive a wedge between the T and LGB communities, often with freewheeling statements and cherry-picked data. All the while refusing to denounce their neo-Nazi and homophobic supporters.

LGB Alliance leaders had contacted Stone as part of a nationwide outreach calling for MPs to meet with them to “discuss” the conversion therapy ban.

Yet, the email, seen in-full by PinkNews, called to ban gay conversion therapy but keep gender conversion therapy “neutral” when it comes to young people in particular.

Affirmation therapy, a crucial form of counselling that gives trans youth a safe space to talk about their gender, they said, “is itself a form of conversion therapy”.

“Transphobes masquerading as LGBT+ allies really get under my skin,” an incensed Stone told PinkNews.

“The fact they’re lobbying me with a load of nonsense that spreads fake news about trans people – and what affirmation therapy actually is! – makes my skin crawl.

The MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross added: “I am a liberal. I believe in the rights of all. What the LGB Alliance does is face one set of rights off against another.

“MPs who don’t try to engage with the trans community might be forgiven for taking a polite email from a group like this and not questioning it.

“Misinformation about trans people must be challenged, whether it’s a lobbying email or a tweet smothered in swear words. I hope more MPs will stand with me and speak out.”

What did the LGB Alliance email say?

“Stop transing the gay away”, the subject of the email stated, which reflected on MPs debating a conversion therapy ban in parliament earlier this month.

The lengthy email said: “The government should not add ‘gender identity’ to sexual orientation in any legislation on conversion therapy.

“Adding ‘gender identity’ to a policy on ‘gay conversion therapy’ would criminalise therapists who want to do their job,” it continued.

“As lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, we oppose conversion therapy,” leaders wrote.

“The equalities minister Kemi Badenoch in the debate was right to say that conversion therapy has ‘no place in a civilised society’.

“Neutral therapy for gender dysphoria is not ‘conversion therapy’.”

The group compared gender affirming therapy for young people to “conversion therapy”, seemingly claiming it railroads them into transitioning. It isn’t, actual experts say. Not one bit.

Affirming therapy is all about giving trans youth a safe space to explore their identity and expression, Dr Colt Keo-Meier, who drafted the American Psychological Association’s guidance for treating trans children, told HuffPost.

“Practitioners of the gender affirmative model do not push children in any direction, rather, they listen to children and, with the help of parents, translate what the child is communicating about their gender identity and expression,” Keo-Meier explained.

And the model works, too. Countless research has found trans and gender nonconforming youth come out of it better adjusted in their gender and with soothed mental health – a dizzying contrast to those who do not receive affirming therapy at all.

trans-rights-2020-world-health-organization-gender-identity-disorder
Thousands of transgender people and their allies take to the streets for London’s first ever Trans+ Pride march on 14 September, 2019. (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The LGB Alliance then said that trans conversion therapy must not be banned as it would place non-trans youth “at-risk” of undergoing gender affirmation treatments when they’re older.

A comment seemingly ignoring how waiting lists for such treatments can stretch years, with first appointments taking, at times, 18 months. These “tortuously long” delays have driven vulnerable trans youth to self-farm, a trans support charity has warned.

The “regret” the group also spoke of in the email is exceedingly rare, multiple studies have found.

So-called conversion therapy has become a hot-button issue in Britain after more than 1,000 days since the government first pledged to ban it, it’s barely budged an inch.

But activists have rallied the Conservative government to push forward with a ban, with prime minister Boris Johnson saying he is “determined to take further steps to stamp it out“.

Amid concerns from lawmakers that the legislative ban would not include trans people, equalities minister Liz Truss vowed that the promised prohibition will protect them.

 

Related topics: conversion therapy, lgb alliance, Liberal Democrats

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