By Rory Murphy
Scottish Liberal Democrats have today committed to banning the practice of conversion therapy for LGBT+ people.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have campaigned to ban conversion therapy since 2014 and are the first party to commit to supporting the End Conversion Therapy campaign’s calls for legislation to ban:
- causing a person to undergo conversion therapy;
- removing a minor from Scotland to undergo conversion therapy abroad;
- providing conversion therapy;
- advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.
The End Conversion Therapy campaign notes “The experiences of those who were put through this practice show a significant public health case for banning conversion therapy and the need for a criminal ban. These areas fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Government and should be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie said: “Conversion therapy is an incredibly harmful practice which has no place in Scotland, or anywhere else in the world. Liberal Democrats will always stand with the LGBT+ community.
“That’s why, in line with Scottish Liberal Democrats’ longstanding commitment, this LGBT+ History Month I am proud to commit my party to a legislative ban on conversion therapy so that it cannot be used to harm the psychological and physical well-being of the people of Scotland ever again.”
Equalities spokesperson Caron Lindsay said: “Conversion therapy is an antiquated and barbaric practice, which can permanently scar those to suffer through it. It is absolutely unacceptable that in this day and age there are organisations dedicated to converting or “curing” LGBT+ people.
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“We want Scotland to be the best country in the world for LGBT+ people. That means using the powers of the Scottish government to challenge hatred and discrimination, no matter where it comes from.
“We must ensure that equality and human rights are at the heart of the recovery from the pandemic.”
Details of the End Conversion Therapy campaign can be found here
Stonewall Scotland, Equality Network, Scottish Trans Alliance, and LGBT Youth Scotland submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliamentary Petitions Committee on 13 August 2020 to “urge the Scottish Government to ban the provision or promotion of LGBT+ conversion therapy in Scotland.” The petition is currently being discussed in the Equalities and Human Rights Committee.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats backed a motion in 2014 which aimed at ending the cruelty of gay conversion therapy:
A motion to end the cruelty of gay conversion therapy
- The recent campaign by the TUC and Unison unions along with over forty LGBT organisations and other trade unions that presented two thousand and two signatures to the UK government calling for a ban on “gay cure therapies”, submitted on 12th July.
- Gay conversion therapy is an intensely harmful practice which has been known to have led to despair, depression and even suicide in the past. The effect of gay conversion therapy is particularly damaging to young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who are often struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.
- Despite impressive progress many in the LGBT community continue to suffer day to day discrimination in their workplaces, schools, families and on the street.
- The Liberal Democrats have often been at the vanguard of the movement for LGBT equality, from being the first party to call for decriminalisation of homosexuality to being the first major political party to embrace equal marriage.
- The LGBT community deserves full equality and protection from discrimination which cannot be achieved while a proportion of medical professionals and wider society believe sexuality is something which can or needs to be “cured”.
- Gay conversion therapy causes an unacceptable amount of damage, both to those undergoing it and to society as a whole.
- Gay conversion therapy serves to entrench the myth that being LGBT is an illness and a danger to society.
Conference therefore calls on the Scottish Government:
- To legislate to ban medical professionals engaging in attempts to alter patients’ sexuality.
- To legislate to prohibit the offering of gay conversion therapies on a commercial basis.
- To legislate to prevent any organisation attempting to alter the sexuality of those under the age of sixteen.
- Increase public awareness that attempting to change a relative or friend’s sexuality can be intensively damaging.
Furthermore conference calls on all elected Liberal Democrats to:
- Campaign for an end to the barbaric practice of gay conversion therapy.
- Promote LGBT equality.