Theresa May calls for ban on transgender conversion practices

Theresa May has urged Boris Johnson to ban transgender conversion practices as a part of proposed legislation.

Writing in the i paper on the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride, the former Conservative prime minister said: “Few people, reading of accounts from trans people, would disagree that they still face indignities and prejudice, when they deserve understanding and respect.

“We need to strive for greater understanding on both sides of the debate. Just because an issue is controversial, that doesn’t mean we can avoid addressing it.

“To that end, the government must keep to its commitment to consider the issue of transgender conversion therapy.

“If it is not to be in the upcoming bill, then the matter must not be allowed to slide.”

Her comments follow an initial move in late March by the prime minister to drop plans to ban any conversion practices. However, within hours of a backlash, the government performed a U-turn.

Ministers later outlined legislation – the conversion therapy bill – in the Queen’s speech that would ban conversion practices intended to change someone’s sexual orientation in certain scenarios.

But it said that owing to the “complexity of issues and need for further careful thought”, the legislation would not ban transgender conversion practices.

In her piece for the newspaper, May said she regretted her past opposition to LGBT equality, having voted against reducing the age of consent for homosexual acts in 1998 and against the repeal of section 28 in 2002.

She said that 50 years after campaigners were subjected to abuse and ridicule, “we can take pride in how much, and how profoundly, attitudes have changed”.

She added: “I include myself in that – looking back now, there are issues I would have voted on differently, were I to vote on them today.”

However, May’s statement comes after the Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene this week criticised the government for excluding transgender people from the proposed ban, branding the move “indefensible”.

Greene said: “I’m not a member of the UK government first of all – I want to make that clear – and it’s not my job to defend the indefensible.”

He told PinkNews: “We made a commitment to the LGBTQ+ community that we would ban conversion therapy. We should fulfil that promise and the Scottish government should do exactly the same.

“We should do it here, we should do it in Westminster, we should do it in Wales, we should do it in Northern Ireland.”

Johnson, also writing for the paper, said it gave him “the greatest pride to lead a country where you can love whomever you choose to love”.

Comments are closed.