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Queen Elizabeth II announces plans to finally ban conversion therapy in the UK

"Measures will be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy," the Queen said on Tuesday.

Queen Elizabeth II announces plans to finally ban conversion therapy in the UK
Cover Image Source: Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech in the House of Lord's Chamber during the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords on May 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II announced this week that conversion therapy will finally be banned in the UK. In her speech to UK Parliament on Tuesday, the Queen set out plans for introducing a legal ban on the dangerous practice of trying to "cure" a person of homosexuality which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association. "Measures will be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy," she said in a ten-minute speech in the House of Lords. Speaking to Sky News following the announcement, Liz Truss—the women and equalities minister—said that ministers want to end the "coercive and abhorrent" practice in England and Wales.



 

"As a global leader on LGBT rights, this government has always been committed to stamping out the practice of conversion therapy," she said. "We want to make sure that people in this country are protected, and these proposals mean nobody will be subjected to coercive and abhorrent conversion therapy." As per a document accompanying the Queen's speech, the government plans to launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalized "to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy."



 

"We will ban conversion therapy to prevent these abhorrent practices which can cause mental and physical harm," the document states. "People should be free to be themselves in the UK. The ban will eliminate coercive practices which cause mental and physical harm to individuals. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective and does not have unintended consequences. We will ensure medical professionals, religious leaders, teachers, and parents can continue to be able to have open and honest conversations with people. We will remain in close contact with the devolved administrations as we develop these measures to find constructive solutions to end this abhorrent practice for good."



 

The Government Equalities Office stated that the public consultation aims to ensure that the ban ends the practice while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech, and upholding religious freedom. While the prime minister's spokesman revealed that the government wouldn't be setting a "specific" timetable for the consultation, it did want it to be short and prompt. "It is vital we seek further views from the public and key stakeholders to ensure the ban can address abhorrent and coercive practices whilst protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech, and upholding religious freedom," he said.



 

"We know there are still those who want to express their views on what is an extremely complicated topic, so that's why it is right to launch a short consultation so that everyone can have their voices heard," the spokesman added. Meanwhile, Nancy Kelley—chief executive at the charity Stonewall—criticized the plan for a consultation. "We don't need a consultation to know that all practices that seek to convert, suppress, cure or change us are dangerous, abusive, and must be banned," she said.



 

The UK government also announced plans for a victim support package, the first time the government has offered such support. "We will shortly invite organizations to bid to develop a package of support that will ensure victims of conversion therapy are able to find and access the help that they need," the document accompanying the Queen's speech stated. "The Government is committed to delivering fairness for all. We are determined that Britain continues to be a global leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. We will lead the effort to advance freedoms for LGBT people around the world by delivering Safe To Be Me, the UK's first-ever International LGBT Conference."

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