Right now, over a million people in this country are still being told their sexual identity is a choice and that it can be cured. That is completely and utterly wrong. Sexual orientation is not a pathology, and most definitely should not be treated as one. Since my election I've been leading the campaign in Parliament to secure a ban on the fraudulent and abusive practice of LGBTQ+ so-called Conversion Therapy. I'm delighted the Government has announced in the Queen's Speech that a ban will be brought forward.
NEWS May 2021: Conversion Therapy Ban Announced in Queen's Speech!
Her Majesty The Queen has announced that the Government will legislate to ban LGBTQ+ so-called Conversion Therapy in the Queen’s Speech today.
Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, who has led the campaign to ban LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy in Parliament said:
“The Queen’s speech today sends a very powerful message: love is not a pathology, and it does not need treating. LGBTQ+ so-called Conversion Therapy is little more than bigotry and quackery packaged up by sinister charlatans to snare and profit off the vulnerable.
“Since my election I’ve worked tirelessly to secure this ban, which is a tribute to the survivors of conversion therapy, to those whose lives were lost too soon because of this abhorrent abuse, and to all those hurting or made ashamed for being who they are.
“This ban will see our Government ensure that LGBTQ+ people have the liberty to live their lives free from identity-based violence and abuse.”
Professor Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury
'Whatever our convictions, it is right that we should all be held to the highest standards of personal care and respect, and I welcome this announcement as an opportunity for co-operation and learning how to secure these standards and protect the vulnerable.'
Since her election in December 2019, MP for Rutland and Melton Alicia has led the campaign in Parliament to ban this practice, worked with campaigners such as Stephen Fry, former Archbishop of Canterbury the Rt. Revd. Dr Rowan Williams, the Coalition for the MOU against Conversion Therapy, the Ozanne Foundation, Stonewall, the Royal College of Psychotherapists, the Albany Trust, GLADD, Mermaids, the Inter-Religious Advisory Board of the Ozanne Foundation, and a number of further University and charity partners.
Update May 2021: Attitude Magazine Article
Ahead of the Queen's Speech I set out my hope that a Conversion Therapy ban will be announced: https://attitude.co.uk/article/gay-conversion-therapy-is-inherently-abusive-banning-it-is-long-overdue-1/24956/
Update April 2021: Cross Party Event with Stephen Fry and Dr Rowan Williams
This month I arranged, and took part in, a number of events with MPs, mental health practitioners and more to discuss why a ban is needed.
My contribution can be found here: https://youtu.be/qfw6-gIlyiU Thank you to the Albany Trust, MOU Coalition, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Stephen Fry's speech can be found here: https://youtu.be/60kTG9h3fb4
Update April 2021: Event with Dr. Ranj Singh and Mental Health Professionals
Working with the BACP, UKCP, BPC, BPS, RCPsych & the wider MOU Coalition I held a discussion with Dr Ranj Singh on the impact of a Conversion Therapy.ban on mental health and wider health professionals.
Update March 2021: Meeting with LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups
It was a privilege to meet with organisations against Conversion Therapy and survivors of this abhorrent practice to discuss next steps to secure legislation.
Update March 2021: Radio 4 Report on Conversion Therapy
BBC Radio 4 published an important report on Conversion Therapy which I was pleased to contribute to: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000sz1y
Update March 2021: Westminster Hall Debate
I'm pleased that the public petition to ban Conversion Therapy was debated in Parliament this month,. My speech in full is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2VORXT9o_s
Update March 2021: Written Question to GEO
Submitted written question regarding reviews of legislative bans from other countries.
Update March 2021: UN Women's Event on LGBTQ+
I advocated at a side event to the UN’s 65th Commission on the Status of Women that women must push for a ban on Conversion Therapy in all our countries. The event was entitled “Women Leaders as Advocates for Equality and Inclusion of LGBTI+ Persons".
Update February 2021: Meeting with LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups
It was a pleasure to meet again with the organisations who have been fighting for so long to secure a ban on Conversion Therapy to discuss next steps to secure legislation.
Update February 2021: Article in the House Magazine
To mark LGBTQ+ History Month I wrote this article to fellow MPs urging a ban on Conversion Therapy.
Update January 2021: Letter to Prime Minister
I wrote again this month to the Prime Minister urging for the ban on Conversion Therapy to be brought forward urgently.
Update January 2021: Meeting with LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups
I met with LGBTQ+ survivors and advocacy groups to discuss how to engage with MPs and Peers on a ban on conversion therapy.
Update January 2021: Written Question to FCDO
Submitted a written question regarding which countries the UK Government is supporting efforts to end LGBTQ+ conversion therapy.
Update December 2020: Meeting with LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups
I met with LGBTQ+ survivors and advocacy groups to discuss progress on the campaign.
Update October 2020: Agreed Definition of Conversion Therapy
To deliver a ban on conversion therapy there needs to be an agreed legal definition of what the practice entails that can be used as a basis for legislation. I have this month delivered a draft definition to Government for consideration as they progress legislation, for which I've secured the backing of 15 major LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and 10 religious representatives who represent all major faiths in our country.
Update September 2020: Pressed the Equalities Secretary for an Update on Legislation
Today I pressed the Equalities Secretary to provide a timeline on legislation and an update on progress to deliver it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdg2_Yo-EQU
News September 2020: Secured the Support of the Health Secretary
Today I raised Conversion Therapy with the Health Secretary and am delighted to have secured his support for a ban. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cdGefFacH4
Update August 2020: Meeting with Trans Activists and Survivors of Conversion Therapy
Arranged a meeting for MPs with Trans survivors of Conversion Therapy.
Update July 2020: Article in Attitude Magazine
As part of my campaign I wrote this month in Attitude Magazine about why I'm determined to deliver a ban on Conversion Therapy.
News June 2020: Raised Banning Conversion Therapy with the Prime Minister
I raised with the Prime Minister the importance of banning LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy and was pleased to receive his support for banning what he called an abhorrent practice.
Update May 2020: Meeting with LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups
I met with LGBTQ+ survivors and advocacy groups to discuss progress on the campaign.
News March 2020: Legislative Proposal Developed
I believe that legislation and activities in England and Wales should specifically enable:
- Criminalisation of a person who:
- Forces someone to undergo “conversion therapy” under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and for children using existing child abuse legislation to prosecute parents or legal guardians for making their children take part and in addition for doing so through deception, coercion or threats,
- Aids, abets counsels or procures any person to use medical, therapeutic, holistic or psychotherapy treatments or interventions to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation or manifestation of that sexual orientation or desired gender identity and expression (the act may take place anywhere in the world provided that the act is done by a United Kingdom national or resident). Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring can occur by many means, including online. This should include knowingly providing or making use of a premise for the hosting of conversion therapy,
- Fails to protect a child (under 16) from “conversion therapy” (this is for parents / legal guardians), and
- Advertises provision of “conversion therapy” (if this is not possible, see point 6).
- Introduction of Conversion Therapy Protection Orders made by the Family Court (civil law – although a breach is a criminal offence) to protect those children or vulnerable adults at risk of “conversion therapy”,
- Introduction of a legal mandatory duty to report to police known or suspected cases of children under 18 of “conversion therapy” placed on health and social care professionals, and teachers,
- Introduction of a duty for survivors of “conversion therapy” to be entitled to support under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime,
- Introduction of lifelong anonymity for victims of “conversion therapy”,
- To ensure fraudulent advertisers of “conversion therapy” are stopped by being eligible to be reported and prosecuted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008,
- It is also recommended that a specific pot of funding is created for a “Conversion Therapy” phoneline, to be run by a LGBTQ+ charity with the requisite training to which individuals can whistle-blow, but moreover seek counselling and support, and
- A Public communications campaign to accompany the new legislation and launch of the phoneline, working with religious and community figures.
December 2019: Elected and Come to Parliament Committed to Deliver a Ban on LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy
Love is Love.