Conversion therapy u-turn 'shows government does not care for trans community'
- Credit: Foreign Office
Members of the LGBT+ community have condemned the Government for its decision to u-turn on banning transgender conversion therapy.
Bans on gay and bisexual conversion therapy are expected to feature in the next Queen's Speech after Boris Johnson temporarily announced bans on all conversion therapies would be vetoed.
NHS England describes conversion therapy as trying to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Under the proposed legislation, using therapy to change a person's sexuality will be outlawed but attempting to change someone's gender identity will not be.
Twenty-two-year-old, Levi Cardwell is a trans male trying to fundraise for private top surgery after being told the NHS waiting list for the procedure was years long.
Levi told the Mercury that he was not surprised by the decision as he does not believe this government cares about trans people and the issues the community faces.
He said: "I wish I could say I’m surprised but I’m not in the slightest.
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"For years now, the government has been saying it will ban conversion therapy and that it would review the process of Gender Recognition Certificates and the ability for Trans People to identify themselves; but again and again the government just prove to us that they could not care less about this community.
"I’m not surprised that this has happened, but having to watch my community and our right to freedom and our right to live as ourselves used as political cannon fodder is exhausting.
"The decision shows a lack of understanding and a complete lack of willingness to understand as well. When trans issues get in the spotlight, they never actually talk to trans people, to the people who will be affected by the things they are suggesting or reviewing."
A Government spokesperson explained the initial decision to not ban conversion therapy by stating it would "proceed by reviewing how existing law can be deployed more effectively."
This decision garnered outrage from MPs on both sides of parliament before it was reversed and has since resulted in more than 100 organisations pulling out of the UK's first-ever LGBT conference, Safe To Be Me, this summer.
The three-day conference was due to be held in London on the 50th anniversary of the capital's Pride Marches though there are fears it could be scrapped altogether.
Levi added: "I do not believe for a second that this government has our best interests at heart, I’m sure there are well-meaning people in parliament who are fighting for our rights, I know there are.
"But from the current government, from the ones sitting in power, they have not shown a shred of care towards the trans community, and unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to change.
"Even just trying to get them to ban gay conversion therapy was a battle and a half, and it’s a battle that took far too long."
North Somerset LGBT+ Forum is an apolitical charity dedicated to supporting the district's LGBT+ community.
The Forum's chair, Steve Winter-Gray believes removing a transgender conversion therapy ban from the policy renders it pointless.
Mr Winter-Gray said: "Even after the Government u-turn, the ban is still not good enough and not a real ban if it does not include transgender people, LGB comes with a T.
"If it [conversion therapy] is abusive and harmful for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, it is abusive and harmful to trans people too - there should be no exclusion."
To donate to Levi's fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com/f/3u5vra-top-surgery-fundraiser
For more information on the North Somerset LGBT+ Forum log on to www.nslgbtforum.com