The Conversion Therapy Prohibition (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Bill [HL] is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 9 February 2024. 

The bill has one substantive clause which would make it an offence to provide or offer any ‘therapy’ which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Five percent of all respondents to the National LGBT survey in 2017 said they had been offered conversion therapy, including 8 percent of transgender respondents. In the bill conversion therapy is defined as “any practice aimed at a person or group of people which demonstrates an assumption that any sexual orientation or gender identity is preferable to another”. 

The government has previously committed to banning conversion therapy, but cite complexities including a desire to avoid criminalising exploratory conversations, therapies and religious counselling. 

The government first committed to banning conversion therapy in the 2018 ‘LGBT action plan’. The government published three research reports on conversion therapy alongside a consultation in 2021. The government’s proposals differed in their approach to Baroness Burt’s bill. For example, government proposals suggested talking conversion therapy could continue for consenting adults, and that conversion therapy could be considered as an aggravating factor in sentencing for other crimes. The consultation page notes that the government is currently analysing feedback and has not yet published a formal response.

In December 2023, minister for women and equalities, Kemi Badenoch restated a commitment to produce draft legislation for scrutiny. Ms Badenoch also said that the situation had developed with young gay and lesbian people experiencing “a new form of conversion therapy” through pressure on professionals to “automatically affirm and medicalise” gender identities. 

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