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Ban ‘gay cure’ conversion therapy, urges CSP

7 July 2017 - 12:21pm

Conversion therapy – which aims to ‘cure’ people who are attracted to those of the same gender – should be banned in the UK.

Ian Scrase

Physiotherapist Ian Scrase speaking at the TUC LGBT conference

This was the CSP’s message to delegates attending the TUC’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) conference, held in London from 6-7 July.

CSP delegate Ian Scrase called on unions to oppose the therapy when he proposed the CSP motion.

He asked delegates: ‘In 2017 why does conversion therapy still exist? Why does society allow a practice that is not scientific, rational or ethical, which places people in harm’s way and allows prejudice and discrimination to flourish?

‘There are individuals and establishments across the globe that offer a range of horrific and harmful practices for both “curing” homosexuality and treatments to “restore” trans individuals to their birth gender.

‘Treatments vary from talking therapies to spiritual interventions, from electric shock therapy to nausea-inducing drugs.’

Mr Scrase said these techniques could lead to ‘profound and long-lasting’ negative effects, such as depression, feelings of isolation, fear and self-loathing.

Unethical and potentially harmful

The CSP wants organisations to promote the UK Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy, he explained.

This describes attempts to change or alter people’s sexual orientation through psychological therapies as ‘unethical and potentially harmful’.

To date, 16 organisations have signed, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, NHS England and NHS Scotland.

In addition, the society asked the TUC and its affiliates to

  • lobby for conversion therapy to be made illegal in the UK
  • support the work of Stonewall in campaigning against conversion therapy 
  • back the efforts of trade union LGBT networks in the US

The trade union Prospect seconded the motion, which was passed unanimously.

This story was amended on 12 July.

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