Wales makes significant progress with conversion therapy ban

This comes despite Boris Johnson’s recent announcement that Transgender people are not included in plans for a UK-wide ban on the practice.

The Wales flag blowing in the wind as the country updates on its conversion therapy ban.
Image: Pexels

On Monday, April 25, the Government of Wales issued an update surrounding its planned LGBTQ+ conversion therapy ban. Unlike its neighbours in England, Welsh officials intend to introduce legislation that leaves no member of the rainbow spectrum behind, with those involved stating the country wishes to become the “friendliest LGBTQ+ nation in Europe”.

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has outlined the next steps that authorities are taking on the matter, while also announcing that NHS Wales has signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy to ban the harmful practice in the country. The MoU ensures that those who sign it and work in the provision of mental or psychological health delivery or commissioning will not commission or provide conversion therapy in the nation.

“As a government, we’ve committed to ensuring that we become the friendliest LGBTQ+ nation in Europe, where no one is left out or left behind,” Blythyn stated.

“Today I am announcing several further steps the Welsh Government is taking towards making conversion therapy a thing of the past.

“In addition to seeking legal advice to determine all the levers we have in Wales to end the practice of conversion therapy unilaterally; we will educate and raise awareness of the horrors and ineffectiveness of conversion therapy practices by establishing a dedicated campaign in Wales.

“Alongside this, work will be undertaken to better understand the impact of conversion ‘therapy’ on survivors to enable support services to be improved and we will establish a working group of experts, to include representatives from faith communities; the health and social care sector; and children and young people’s representatives, alongside LGBTQ+ people to help with this work and advise on key elements as a ban is developed,” she continued.

“Through the measures, I have announced and by engaging with partners across crucial sectors, I am confident that together we can and must rise to the challenge to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe, where every corner of our country is a safe place for LGBTQ+ people to live openly and authentically as themselves,” her statement concluded.

NHS Wales representatives Dr Frank Atherton and Judith Paget added: “The Welsh Government and NHS Wales fully support the banning of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, witnessed through our signing of the MoU with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy.

“We stand united in our desire to make this abhorrent practice illegal and believe this will offer an important opportunity to support those at risk of conversion therapy as well as victims and survivors.”

The progress in Wales comes at a time when Boris Johnson’s government intends on excluding Transgender people from its proposed legislation. Despite widespread protests, the Prime Minister defended the decision, stating: “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.”

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