The consultation to ban conversion therapy ends tomorrow. It has been three years in the making. And has been delayed several times.
When it was published, LGBTQIA+ organisations all over the UK pointed out that it contained serious issues and loopholes.
They are worried, it will essentially allow conversion therapy to continue anyway. Despite it being branded as a 'ban.' So how did we get here?
Delays, after delays
The consultation deadline was recently extended, further delaying the process. Why?
The official reason is that the government forgot to publish an accessible version of the consultation until Thursday, a day before the deadline. Something Stonewall CEO Nancy Kelley says should have been ready at the start. - PinkNews
But it followed five days and a flurry of stories in The Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail. They claim that the ban is a "controversial gender law". That it's going to criminalise 'parents' and 'clerics' if it goes ahead as it is.
The papers ramped up their calls for the ban to be delayed for these reasons. Days later, it was.
Will it criminalise parents?
The law is specifically designed to criminalise people (including parents and clerics) who put vulnerable LGBTQIA+ people through the cruel pseudo-scientific practice.
One that has a "destructive effect on people's lives from a very early age" as described by the international LGBTQIA+ organisation ILGA World. - Forbes
The practice is discredited by The World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 60 health professional associations from over 20 countries. - IGLA World
It's referred to as torture by those who have been through it. That's because it uses a range of physical, emotional and psychological terrors as part of its false promise to change people's identities.
What are these headlines about then?
What's worrying the LGBTQIA+ community is the reports have been framing the ban as a matter of "freedom of religion." Or as the right to "respect for private and family life."
But as those who support the ban argue - those can be protected, while LGBTQIA+ people are protected from the cruel practice.
And just last week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission - an independent watchdog - called for another delay to the ban.
UK charity Stonewall says the EHRC's response to the 'conversion therapy' ban consultation effectively seeks to exclude trans people from the proposed rights and protections.
Stonewall, along with all kinds of LGBTQIA+ organisations in the UK, say the EHRC's suggestions could have a detrimental impact.
The pseudo-scientific practice, condemned by the UN and recognised as a form of torture is still rife, 7% of UK queer people have had or been offered it.
While a Galop study last week found 1 in 4 LGBTQIA sex crimes happened as a form of trying to ‘convert or punish’ victims, just as conversion therapy does.
Campaigners argue the proposed law, as it stands, is weak. It could allow people to continue practising so-called 'conversion therapy' under the pretence of 'religious freedom' anyway.
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