“End The Torture Now”: Celebrities Call For Conversion Therapy Ban

Photographed by Erika Bowes.
Celebrities and high-profile figures including activist Munroe Bergdorf, singer Dua Lipa and comedian Katherine Ryan have signed an open letter urging the government to ban conversion therapy.
Singer Elton John, UK Black Pride founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall have also signed the letter, which denounces conversion therapy as a form of "torture" which is being allowed to continue on British soil.
As LGBT charity Stonewall notes, the term "conversion therapy" refers to "any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity".
It's predicated on the false and incredibly damaging idea that homosexuality and being transgender are mental health issues that can be "cured". Government research has found that 2% of LGBTQ people in the UK have been subjected to conversion therapy – and 5% have been offered it.
Another survey published last year found that it leads to high levels of mental health problems including suicidal feelings, self-harm and eating disorders.
Conversion therapy has been denounced by all major therapy and counselling associations in the UK including the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP). Internationally, it's already illegal to subject minors to it in Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan, as well as in 20 US states.
As the BBC reports, the UK government actually pledged to ban conversion therapy two years, but has yet to fulfil its promise. An online petition to make it illegal in the UK has now attracted nearly 215,000 signatures.
The celebrities' open letter is addressed to Liz Truss, the Minister for Women and Equalities, and urges her to “introduce a truly effective ban on ‘conversion therapy’”.
“Any form of counselling or persuading someone to change their sexual orientation or behaviour so as to conform with a heteronormative lifestyle, or their gender identity should be illegal, no matter the reason, religious or otherwise – whatever the person’s age,” the letter reads.
“Let’s end it now. Let’s finish what was pledged two years ago and ban ‘conversion therapy’ for all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and gender diverse people, of all ages. Until you do, torture will continue to take place on British soil.”
Last month, Truss said that she "will shortly be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy", though she hasn't said what these plans are likely to involve.

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