LGBTQ+ celebrities demand UK 'conversion therapy' ban in open letter

“Until conversion therapy is banned, the UK government is sending a message that it is inherently homophobic.” 

A split screen of three celebrities who are campaigning for a conversion therapy ban in the UK. Left is Munroe Bergdorf, middle is Alan Cumming and right is Mae Martin.
Image: Instgram @munroebergdorf / Shutterstock / Shutterstock

A host of celebrities, many of whom are part of the LGBTQ+ community, have joined forces with Stonewall to pen a letter to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak demanding a permanent ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’. 

In 2018, then-PM Theresa May promised to bring an end to conversion therapy in the UK. However, despite receiving cross-party support, the practice has yet to receive a trans-inclusive ban since one was promised five years and three prime ministers ago. 

A report from The Times last month suggested that Sunak would speak on the issue of conversion therapy at the upcoming King’s Speech on November 7. According to the news outlet, this speech was originally meant to include the announcement of a conversion therapy ban, however, more recently, a supplementary report from The Sun stated that Sunak would be ditching the trans-inclusive ban, citing “intense” lobbying from anti-trans Tory MP Miriam Cates. 

Following the report in The Sun, UK celebrities including Jade Thirlwall, Mae Martin and Rina Sawayama have joined forces with Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ charity organisation, to pen a letter demanding that Sunak take immediate action in implementing a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy in the UK. 

The open letter, similarly signed by the likes of Alan Cumming, Rylan Clark and Munroe Bergford, condemned Sunak for showing a “callous disregard for the harm faced by LGBTQ+ people” by refusing to implement a conversion therapy ban. 

“Conversion practices are abhorrent forms of abuse targeted at LGBTQ+ people for being who they are. Your government promised to ban this abuse yet it appears you will break this promise,” the letter reads. 

“Instead of taking decisive action to legislate, as countries such as Canada, New Zealand, France and Spain have done, plans have [been] delayed time and again.

“You are giving the green light for abusers to continue unhindered. You are letting down survivors and victims of abuse across this country.”

Towards the end of the open letter, the celebrities condemn Sunak and the UK government for the way it has handled ongoing issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.

“We have seen rising hate crimes, debilitating lack of access to life-saving healthcare, and doubts cast on support for inclusive education in schools,” the letter continues. “From comments that undermine the rights of LGBTQ+ refugees to asylum, to mockery of the trans community by senior politicians, LGBTQ+ people in the UK feel less safe today.

“LGBTQ+ people deserve a government with the will to protect them from harm.”



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Following the release of the letter, James Bond and The L Word actor Alan Cumming spoke about his decision to sign, saying: “It’s not just about banning conversion therapy, it’s about sending a message to young queer people that their government does not believe there’s anything wrong with them, and that they have no need to convert or change. 

“Until conversion therapy is banned, the UK government is sending a message that it is inherently homophobic.” 

Additional celebrities who signed the open letter to Sunak include Russell Tovey, Daniel Howell, Dr Ranj, Juno Dawson and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK alumni Ella Vaday, Divina de Campo, Pixie Polite, Sum Ting Wong, Sister Sister, Charity Kase and Jonbers Blonde.

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