“Are you sure your gay?” “Wait until you’re a bit older.” #ThisMorning these comments are DISGUSTING and damaging to queer children. Not one queer person present. These are our human rights you’re talking about. Then you move on in seconds to talk about Chris Rock. Shame on you.
— Mollie Poppin (@MolliePoppin247) April 1, 2022
This Morning slammed for letting cis, straight men share ‘damaging’ conversion therapy views
This Morning has been criticised for its coverage of Boris Johnson’s LGBT+ conversion therapy fiasco, after one guest suggested he might think he was trans if he grew up today due to “trans ideas in the media”.
On Friday’s (1st April) This Morning, hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary turned their attention to the prime minister’s double U-turn regarding conversion therapy.
After widespread backlash to Downing Street scrapping a proposed legislative ban on conversion therapy, Boris Johnson changed tack and now reportedly plans to ban the practice for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but not for trans people.
The LGBT+ community is up in arms, with many telling the prime minister that a ban that excludes trans people is no ban at all.
But when This Morning discussed the ban, show regulars Gyles Brandreth and Matthew Wright suggested a ban had become “contentious” because of the toxic debate on trans lives currently playing out in the media.
Brandreth said: “Where it’s become contentious, is that people have noticed that over the last 10 years, there’s been a 4,000 per cent increase in young girls reporting gender issues, saying: ‘You know what, I’m not sure about what my gender should be.’
“That’s made people worry that maybe you can’t have a conversation, not even say: ‘Well, are you sure you’re gay? Let’s talk about what being gay is when you’re a bit older.'”
Matthew Wright then claimed: “The more we put trans ideas in the media then it seems to be more likely that people may think that applies to them.
“I’ve often thought about it myself… I was a very effeminate teenager – I’m still quite an effeminate man now.
“I wondered for a while if I was gay, and I wonder, now, if I went back to my teenage years would I be wondering if I was trans?”
He added he wanted to “try and understand the issue”.
“I want young people who think they have issues to be understood as well,” he said.
Likening gender-affirming care for trans youth to conversion therapy has become a common ‘gender critical’ tactic in recent years.
In reality, trans people are twice as likely to have undergone or been offered conversion therapy, according to the government’s own 2018 national LGBT Survey, with a UN LGBT+ expert saying such practices should be considered torture.
LGBT+ This Morning viewers were outraged by the conflation of conversion therapy and “trans ideas”, and quickly pointed out that the show had failed to interview any queer people about the issue.
“These comments are DISGUSTING and damaging to queer children,” wrote Welsh drag queen Mollie Poppin. “Not one queer person present. These are our human rights you’re talking about.”
Another Twitter user said the discussion on This Morning was “abhorrent”.
He added: “Absolutely downplaying the torture that is conversion therapy and completely undermining the need for new laws to outlaw it.”
The discussion on #ThisMorning around conversion therapy just now is abhorrent. Absolutely downplaying the torture that is conversion therapy and completely undermining the need for new laws to outlaw it.
— Andrew (@andt_gk) April 1, 2022
Broadcaster and former This Morning guest India Willoughby didn’t directly comment on the show, but wrote on Twitter: “It’s also another day of trans being talked about – by non-trans people. Why are their no trans reporters, presenters or columnists?”
— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) April 1, 2022
On Thursday evening news broke that Boris Johnson had decided to scrap a ban on conversion therapy, first promised by then-prime minister Theresa May in 2018, in favour of “non-legislative” efforts.
It’s believed that the Government Equalities Office was not consulted on the decision, and soon Tory MPs, as well as other politicians, LGBT+ groups and activists, began broadcasting their outrage.
Within hours No 10 had U-turned, insisting that legislation would be forthcoming.
But according to ITV, which broke the story, the upcoming ban will not protect trans people.
A government spokesperson told PinkNews: “The government has a proud record on LGBT rights, and the prime minister is committed to bringing forward legislation to ban conversion therapy.
“The content, scope and timing of the proposed bill will be confirmed in due course.”
PinkNews has reached out to ITV for comment.