TWO North East Conservative MPs have insisted proposals to ban conversion therapy must protect everyone, including transgender people and over 18s.

Dehenna Davison said she will continue to engage with the Government to ensure the “right legislation” is delivered to outlaw the “abhorrent” practice and protect everyone.

The proposed legislation will seek to ban so-called conversion therapy that attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation in certain scenarios.

Read more: Darlington Pride calls on Government to include trans people in conversion therapy ban

The Conversion Therapy Bill will not protect transgender people and it will only ban the practices for over-18s “who do not consent and who are coerced or forced to undergo” them.

Critics believe “giant loopholes” mean the lives of many LGBT people will remain at risk.

Ms Davison, who represents the constituency of Bishop Auckland, told the Queen’s Speech debate: “Young people, straight or gay or bi or trans, should be free to live and love as they wish to, supported in that by the Government.

“And that means banning conversion therapy, this abhorrent practice, finally banning it not just for under 18s, not just for people who are part of the LGB community but for everyone, the entire LGBT community, and certainly I plan to continue my engagement with Government to make sure we get the right legislation on this abhorrent practice.”

Read more: Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison reacts after LGBT conference cancelled

Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, also speaking in yesterday's (Monday) debate: “I speak as a gay Christian who can’t wait for this Government to finally outlaw conversion therapy.

“Everyone, LGBT or otherwise, deserves to grow up and grow old being who they are without the threat of disgusting, outdated, and hopefully soon to be criminal practices, labelled as conversion therapy.”

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

Plans to outlaw the so-called therapy were announced in 2018 and when plans by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop the legislation were revealed in March there was a furious backlash - forcing a hasty u-turn. 

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

But he defended the decision not to include trans people, saying there are “complexities and sensitivities” which need to be worked through.

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has said the Government must “stop playing politics with our lives”.

It said: “A ban on conversion practices that does not cover both sexual orientation and gender identity protects nobody.

“Those who want to erase or suppress LGBTQ+ people from living their lives do not differentiate between the two.”

Former LGBT Government adviser Jayne Ozanne tweeted: “Whilst I’m naturally relieved to see that the Government are still committed to banning “conversion therapy”, it is of great concern that they are creating so many loopholes and leaving so many people unprotected.

“The Government’s own research shows that trans people are twice as likely to be offered ‘conversion therapy’ and it is an utter disgrace that they have purposefully omitted them from the ban.”

Downing Street acknowledged that over-18s would be able to undergo conversion therapy despite the Government claiming to be planning a ban on “abhorrent practices which do not work and cause extensive harm”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is a difficult area and we need to strike the right balance. I think it’s important to wait for the full details of the Bill to be set out.”

The spokesman added: “It is obviously abhorrent to force this on anyone, it is a complex area that needs careful management.”


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