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UK to ban conversion therapy as part of initiative to improve LGBT lives

Conversion therapy seeking to “cure” people of their homosexual inclinations is based on the idea that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental condition that can be “reversed” with counselling and other measures. 

world Updated: Jul 04, 2018 14:16 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
Conversion therapy,UK,Britain
The announcement followed the results of Britain’s largest survey of LGBT people covering more than 108,000 respondents, which showed they experience prejudice on a daily basis.(Reuters File Photo)

The UK government on Tuesday announced plans to eradicate “the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy” as part of a 75-point initiative to tackle discrimination and improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The announcement followed the results of Britain’slargest survey of LGBT people covering more than 108,000 respondents, which showed theyexperience prejudice on a daily basis.

Conversion therapy seeking to “cure” people of their homosexual inclinations is based on the idea that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental condition that can be “reversed” with counselling and other measures.

Most regulatory organisations in the UK have banned its use, but a 2015 study by campaign group Stonewall reportedly found that 10% of health and care staff had heard colleagues express the belief that sexuality can be “cured”.

Prime Minister Theresa May promised £4.5 million in funding for the new initiative. “We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT people,” she said.

“I was struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction. No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love. This plan will set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society.”

Welcoming the plans, Ruth Hunt of Stonewall said: “The simple act of holding hands is something all same-sex couples do with a high degree of caution. Attitudes have changed but there are still pockets of society where we’re far from safe.”

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 09:15 IST