This is a copy of an email I sent to my local MP today, regarding a survey being run by the House of Commons on LGBTQ+ conversion therapy. It seemed worth publishing here too.
I am writing regarding the conversion therapy survey shared by the House of Commons account on Twitter:
I am deeply concerned that this matter has been put to a public survey. The government should be able to move ahead with plans to ban conversion therapy without a survey, especially given that these plans were announced two years ago.
The evidence against this practice is overwhelming; it is neither ethically nor practically justifiable, achieving nothing other than traumatising LGBTQ+ people and reinforcing the homophobic and transphobic attitude that being LGBTQ+ is something which is possible or desirable to “fix”. The practice is rejected by countless medical and psychiatric organisations throughout the world. To put this question up for a public consultation is to specifically invite people to defend the practice, and to make space for them to do so.
I am particularly concerned by the question of how ‘conversion therapy’ should be defined. Specifically, I am concerned that there will be an attempt to define gender-affirming treatments for transgender people as a kind of conversion therapy. These two things should absolutely not be conflated: conversion therapy seeks to reject people’s true identities, whereas gender-affirming treatments for transgender people affirm their true identities.
Transgender people report extremely high rates of discrimination, as well as significantly higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts than the general population. Providing appropriate treatment to trans people is a vital component of righting this. It would therefore be immensely harmful if the government adopted the view that treatment for transgender people should be classed as ‘conversion therapy’.
I would like to hear what you intend to do to resist these developments, and how you intend to speak out against homophobia and transphobia, as well as how you intend to hold the government to account for making this topic a matter for debate.