The Government is considering banning 'gay conversion therapy'.
Following the new 2017 LGBT+ survey – published today (July 3) – it revealed that up to five per cent of LGBT people have been offered ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy, but did not take it up, and a further two per cent had undergone it.
And now, the women and equalities minister Penny Mordaunt, has revealed her department will consider “all legislative and non-legislative options” to stop promoting, offering or conducting the therapy in the UK.
She wrote in the Independent: “Conversion therapy can range from pseudo-psychological treatments to in the most extreme cases, surgical interventions and “corrective” rape.
“This is abuse of the worst kind and must be stamped out.
“We are committed to bringing forward proposals to end the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy.
“This is a complex issue, but we want to look at every option available to us to stamp out these dangerous practices.”
The results of the survey were also slammed by Prime Minister Theresa May who said she was “struck” about the how many people feel they cannot be open about their sexual orientation.
She said: “I was struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction.
“No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love.
“We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT+ rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT+ people.”
Leading LGBT+ charity Stonewall also welcomed the Government’s decision to ban ‘gay conversion therapy’.
Laura Russell, Head of Policy at Stonewall, said: “It’s heart-breaking but not surprising that the government’s survey has found that two per cent of LGBT people have undergone conversion therapy, and a further five per cent have been offered it.
“Our 2015 Unhealthy Attitudes report revealed that one in ten health and social care staff across Britain witnessed colleagues express the dangerous belief that someone can be ‘cured’ of being lesbian, gay or bi.
“We’re pleased the Government recognises more needs to be done to tackle the deeply harmful practice of conversion therapy.
“All forms of ‘therapy’ that attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity are unethical and unacceptable.
“Same-sex attraction is natural, normal and not something that can or should be ‘cured’, and it’s the same for someone’s innate sense of their gender identity. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are not ill.”
LGBT and human rights activist Peter Tatchell also backed the Government’s plan to stamp out the so-called therapy.
He said: "Banning gay conversion therapy is the right thing to do. It doesn't work and it is deeply offensive to try to change a fundamental, natural and widespread human characteristic."