Closed petition Make offering gay conversion therapy a criminal offence
Being gay is not an illness, yet to this day gay people are still offered 'therapies' to cure themselves. This often involves electroshock, starvation and prayer therapy. This dangerous practice is not yet illegal despite all major psychological bodies ruling it not only ineffective but also harmful
Just months ago the government said they were satisfied they'd ‘already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK - however a recent investigation by a journalist exposed the practice happening at a church.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 30 November 2017
The Government totally condemns any attempt to treat being gay, lesbian or bisexual as an illness. However, the Government does not believe creating a criminal offence is the right way forward.
Gay conversion therapy is an attempt to use therapeutic approaches to change a person’s sexual orientation. It is sometimes known as ‘reparative’ or ‘gay cure’ therapy. The Government fully recognise the importance of this issue and the adverse impact this treatment could have on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people.
There is no evidence that this sort of treatment is beneficial, and indeed it may well cause significant harm to some patients. It is incumbent on professionals working in the National Health Service to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination.
This Government is committed to tackling discrimination towards LGBT people. That is why we have already worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), to develop first a consensus statement and then a Memorandum of Understanding committing signatory organisations to a range of activities including training and awareness raising amongst their members in relation to this issue. This Government has already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK.
We are not aware of the incident referred to in the e-petition.
Department of Health
Other parliamentary business
Government provides additional response on gay conversion therapy
The Government has provided more information in response to this petition. This change was made on 20 March 2018.
This is because the Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) did not think that the Government’s first response directly addressed the request made by the petition.
The Committee wrote to the Government to ask for a new response which answered the petition more clearly.
The Committee has now published its exchange of letters with the Government. You can read the letters here:
MPs ask Government for a clearer response to petition about “gay conversion therapy”
The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) did not think that the Government’s response to this petition clearly addressed what the petition was asking for.
The Committee has written to the Government to ask for a better response.
The Committee has asked the Government to explain clearly why the Government does not believe that creating a new criminal offence is the right way forward.
The Committee was also concerned that the response only talks about work that the Government is doing with medical professionals. It does not explain what the Government is doing when this “therapy” is offered by people who aren’t medical professionals, as in the case described in the petition. The Committee has asked the Government to provide more information about this.
When the Government has provided a response which adequately addresses these points, the Committee will publish it. We’ll send you another message when this happens.
Find out more about the role of the Petitions Committee: