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UK News

Majority of public want conversion therapy banned, new poll finds

A major new poll has revealed that most members of the public want to see conversion therapy outlawed in the UK.

The research, undertaken by YouGov on behalf of the Ozanne Foundation — which is campaigning to end the controversial practice — revealed that 62% of those surveyed support a ban. 

Conversion therapy is classed as a pseudoscientific treatment that seeks to alter a person's sexual orientation by utilising psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions. Amongst those surveyed who had a religious affiliation, some 57% were in favour of a ban, versus 15% who were not. 

Overall, 14% said they do not want to see a ban, 62% support a ban, with the rest saying stating that they are unsure.

As Premier reported earlier this week, Facebook and Instagram recently banned any content which advocates for the treatment, removing posts from Northern Irish ministry group, The Core Issues Trust, which offers a conversion therapy service by seeking to help people "with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression".

In 2018, then Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to outlaw the practice, however the Johnson Government has not prioritised any legislative action on the issue. 

Replying to a question about future plans for laws banning the treatment, Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch said in May that it was a "very complex issue" and that the government was currently undecided about the way forward. 

She added: "There are a wide range of practices which may fall within its scope and we want to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the situation in the UK to inform an effective approach.

"Before any decision is made on proposals for ending conversion therapy we must understand the problem, the range of options available and the impact they would have.

"We will work to deepen our understanding and consider all options for ending the practice of conversion therapy."

In June, Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss MP lobbied for more action on the issue. "Conversion therapy is a vile, abhorrent practice that we want to stop," she said. "We have commissioned research to look at the scope of the practice in the UK, and we will publish our plans shortly after we receive that research."

Other countries including Germany and Malta, have already outlawed conversion therapy. Last month, the United Nations called for a global ban on the practice. 

Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz said: “The degrading nature of many conversion therapy practices, including physical abuse, electroshock therapy, pseudo-medical procedures, and the use of anti-LGBT epithets and slurs, contribute to an overall dehumanising environment towards persons with diverse SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity)." 

Speaking with ITV News, the founder of The Core Issues Trust, Mike Davidson, said:

"I think if they are banning corrective rape and electroshock therapy...chemical castrations...that might be a good idea. But if they are wanting to ban the freedom of speech where people simply sit down and explore their unresolved sexual fluidity issues...I think that would be a very bad thing for people who want to go in a different direction and aren't able to get professional help." 

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