MEMBERS of Darlington Pride have called on the Government to ensure a ban on so-called conversion therapy on gay and bisexual people also includes those who are transgender.

There was a swift Government u turn on Thursday night after reports emerged that that ministers were abandoning plans to ban so-called conversion therapy sparked a furious backlash.

The announcement on Thursday that ministers would explore non-legislative routes to stop the practice was criticised by LGBT groups and MPs.

According to NHS England, conversion therapy tries to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

A Government spokesman had earlier confirmed that they were looking instead at ways of preventing it through existing law and “other non-legislative measures”.

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It followed the leak of a Downing Street briefing paper seen by ITV News which said “the PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation” to outlaw the practice.

However within hours of the announcement, a senior Government source was quoted as saying legislation would be included in the Queen’s Speech in May.

The Prime Minister was said to have “changed his mind” after seeing the reaction to the earlier announcement.

However, the legislation will cover only gay conversion therapy, not trans. 

When the reports first emerged on Thursday, Tory backbencher Dehenna Davison, who came out as bisexual last year,  was among those to tweet an angry response.

She said: “This decision is fundamentally wrong, and needs to be reversed immediately.

“As well as breaking an explicit promise, this is a matter of basic decency. Being gay is not something that needs curing.”


Members of Darlington Pride Volunteer Group said leaving trans and non-binary people out of a proposed ban was “unacceptable”.

In a statement, the group said: “The members of Darlington Pride Volunteer Group and our supporters call on the Government to ensure any conversion therapy ban covers all LGBTQ+ people. Leaving trans and non-binary people out  of any proposed ban is completely unacceptable.

“As a community we are not protected unless we are all protected. We cannot stand against oppression for 'part' of a community, either it is abuse which needs to be completely banned across the board or it isn't.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with trans and non-binary people across Darlington and the wider community."

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Pips Scrafton, who is a transwoman and member of Darlington Pride, said the narrative around trans communities was “toxic and exhausting”.

She said: “Personally I do not ever remember a time in the last twenty plus years since I transitioned that I've ever felt so hated and attacked, especially by parts of the press.

“I do not think there is a day goes by when there is not a negative story aimed at trans communities, the narrative is toxic and it is exhausting.

“I am mindful of the many inspirational brave voices past and present fighting for trans rights! The day after Trans Day of Visibility I am reminded also of how much there is still to do for our community. I am proud to be part of the trans community, role models all, young and old living our authentic lives." 

Jacob Young, MP for Redcar, who has previously voiced his support for the ban, said: “I'm glad that the Government made it clear that any suggestion it was dropping proposals to ban conversion therapy were false.

"Conversion therapy is an abhorrent practive that has no place in 21st Century Britain and I we've been promised this ban for the last four years.

"The Government has indicated this will be included in next month's Queen's Speech.

"I look forward to seeing this legislation and for a ban on conversion therapy as soon as possible."  

Darlington MP Peter Gibson, who has also campaigned on the issue, said: “I welcome news that the conversion therapy abuse ban will be the Queens Speech once again. We just need to get on with now.

"When the draft legislation is written, and it hasn’t been yet, then we can scrutinise it, and debate it. “

A national LGBT survey by the Government in 2017 found transgender people were twice as likely to have been offered conversion therapy as their gay and bisexual counterparts. 

More than 108,000 people responded to the consultation, which led Theresa May's government to announce plans to ban conversion therapy in 2018.

In 2020, Boris Johnson described the practice as "abhorrent."

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