LGBTQ+ equality advocates in the UK are pushing lawmakers to rule out a loophole in an upcoming ban on conversion therapy practices that would effectively protect those who have received “informed consent” from survivors.
The British government in December pledged to ban conversion therapy, a discredited practice claiming to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. His conversion therapy consultationcollecting public opinion on its ban proposalcloses on Fridays.
But the current plan worries some Britons, who point to a glaring loophole in which those who subject people over the age of 18 to conversion therapy practices may not be held liable if they first receive ‘informed consent’. .
As it stands, the practice of conversion therapy would only be a criminal offense in the UK if it is administered to a minor or adult without first receiving their informed consent.
“The person should be given full information about what the therapy involves, including the short-term and long-term risks,” the proposal says.
Supporters say the government should take a tougher stance.
“It is fundamental that UK law does not define an acceptable form of abuse if you accept it – consider domestic violence, forced marriage, honour-based violence – you cannot consent to abuse” , Leni Morris, general manager of the Galop, LGBTQ+ anti-abuse association, told the Guardian.
According to a recent Galop surveyone in four LGBTQ+ respondents said they had experienced sexual assault with the aim of “converting or punishing” for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We’re hearing from a lot of people who believe they consented to what happened to them,” Morris said. “I would say you can’t consent to something that, if you don’t, risks losing your religious ties, your community, your family or your home.”
English novelist Jeanette Winterson, who wrote about being subjected to exorcisms by the Pentecostal church after coming out as a lesbian as a teenager in the 1970s, told the Guardian she thinks conversion therapy is “as bad as forced marriage”.
“My view is that if a person is not comfortable with their sexual orientation, they should be able to find a therapist to talk about their feelings. There are a lot of uncomfortable heterosexuals, and of course there are people who, for religious reasons, and sometimes for family reasons, find their homosexuality unmanageable,” she said.
“The therapy is excellent; conversion therapy is stupid. The talking remedy is not there to tell you about your feelings; it’s there to help you be yourself, whatever that means.
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