In the wake of the controversy following the announcement of the UK’s new conversion therapy legislation and its lack of protection for Trans people, Boris Johnson has definitively stated that he stands by the decision.
Speaking to a journalist during a visit to a hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, yesterday, the Prime Minister stated, “We will have a ban on gay conversion therapy, which to me is utterly abhorrent. But there are complexities and sensitivities when you move from the area of sexuality to the question of gender. There are things that I think still need to be worked out.”
His statement comes in response to the cancellation of the government’s ‘Safe to Be Me’ conference which was announced earlier this week. The landmark event, which was scheduled to take place in London from June 27-29, was pulled after more than 80 LGBTQ+ and HIV groups decided to boycott it in solidarity with the Trans community.
In the wake of last week's backtracking on conversion practices, we're joining other LGBTQ+ orgs across the UK in a collective boycott of the 'Safe to be Me' conference.
No sponsors. No attendees. No pinkwashing.#UnSafeToBeMe pic.twitter.com/xTCslQG0lY
— Gendered Intelligence (@Genderintell) April 4, 2022
The boycott was called for after it was revealed last week, that the Prime Minister planned to drop the proposed ban on conversion therapy altogether, but following a major backlash, he u-turned on the decision. The practice will now be banned throughout the UK, with the exception of conversion therapy relating to gender identity.
During yesterday’s interview, Johnson said that he was saddened that the conference had been cancelled but that he stood by the decision not to include Trans conversion therapy in the new legislation. “These are complex issues. And I don’t think they can be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation … It takes a lot of thought to get this right.”
ON MONDAY 14 church leaders called for the PM to include trans people in the ‘conversion therapy’ ban.
NOW YOU CAN sign this petition to #BanConversionTherapy for all: https://t.co/oEy4kM6AmN #SupportTheBan pic.twitter.com/rt6krGOR6A
— Open Table Network (@opentablelgbt) April 6, 2022
He continued, “I suppose I’d just make a few points: I don’t think that it’s reasonable for kids to be deemed so-called Gillick competent to take decisions about their gender or irreversible treatments that they may have. I think there should be parental involvement at the very least. That’s the first thing.”
In a further blow to the Trans community he voiced his opinion on the debate surrounding Trans athletes stating, “Second thing, I don’t think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events. And maybe that’s a controversial thing, but it just seems to me to be sensible.”
He continued, “I also happen to think that women should have spaces, whether it’s in hospitals or prisons or changing rooms or wherever, which are dedicated to women”.
Defending his statements Boris Johnson asserted, “That doesn’t mean that I’m not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition, and it’s vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions.”
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