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    5. Tories praised for rejecting conversion therapy ban


    Tories praised for rejecting conversion therapy ban

    Rishi Sunak has removed a pledge to ban conversion therapy from the Conservative manifesto. Photo: Victor Shimanovich/Future Publishing/Getty Images 39; class='tmg-particle Sticky-nav wrp-b c72b371 -0215-4d99-b27b-4223678de837' title='General Election' data-business-type='editorial' loading='eager' scroll='no' Frameborder='0'allow='web-share' style='width : 100%; min-width: 100%; border: none; position: relative; display: block; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;'>

    The Conservatives have been praised for abandoning a commitment to ban conversion therapy in their manifesto.

    In 2018, the party committed to introducing legislation to ban the practice aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

    But the Tories did not try to introduce a ban into law, despite then-prime minister Boris Johnson promising to do so in 2019.

    Rishi Sunak has now dropped the commitment from the Tory manifesto, which says “existing criminal law” already provides protection from potential harm.

    Helen Joyce, of Sex Matters, said “most children who experience gender discomfort will outgrow it during puberty”. Photo: Geoff Gilbert

    Helen Joyce, director of advocacy for sex rights, said the Tories had listened to “mounting evidence” that the ban would be “harmful”.

    “The Conservatives' decision not to pursue a ban on so-called 'conversion therapy' reflects growing evidence that such measures are unnecessary and even harmful,” she said.

    “An abuse committed under the guise of providing medical care or therapy is already illegal. 

    “Campaigners have misled many politicians of all parties by conflating the historical crimes inflicted on gays and lesbians with ethical, evidence-based talking therapy for the growing number of children and young people experiencing gender-related distress today.

    “It is now well established that most children who experience gender discomfort or are convinced of their opposite gender identity outgrow it during puberty. It is difficult to see how a ban on conversion therapy could be formulated to avoid outlawing the supportive and open approach recommended in the recent Cass Review.”

    Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “The legislation in this area is fraught with problems, and the government's own research has always suggested that it is not necessary.

    “Any ban would criminalize consensual conversations with those who genuinely want help and support. Human rights will be violated and any legislation will be subject to widespread legal challenge.

    “No-one has ever produced any evidence of what LGBT activists call forced 'conversion therapy'. What the activists describe would already be illegal.”

    The Tory manifesto, released on Tuesday, said: “Attempts at so-called 'conversion therapy' are abhorrent. However, the legislation around conversion practices is a very complex issue, as existing criminal laws already provide strong protections.

    “The problems associated with this can be seen, for example, in the fact that the Scottish National Party (SNP), having re-consulted on its proposals in Scotland and Sweden, recently concluded that they would not seek a similar ban.”

    “In light of the Cass Review's final report, it is right that we need more time before making a final decision on further legislation in this area.”

    Dr Hilary Cass, who completed a report on the dangers of gender ideology in April, said in May that a ban on conversion therapy would prevent therapists from questioning children who identify as transgender.

    Her review found that children need to undergo extensive therapy before they are allowed to transition.

    The Conservative pledge has been repeatedly delayed over concerns it could criminalize parents who question their child's desire to change gender.

    < p>The party first made the pledge in July 2018, when Theresa May was prime minister and Penny Mordaunt was women and equalities minister.

    Kemi Badenoch, the current equalities minister, has said that trying to convince children that gender reassignment is itself a form of conversion therapy.

    But Sir Keir Starmer said earlier this year that Labour would seek a ban on conversion therapy for gay and trans people.

    Anneliese Dodds, chair of the Labor Party, said on Wednesday: “After six years of broken promises, the Conservatives have abandoned their commitment to ban so-called conversion therapy.

    “This is a cowardly failure to outlaw abusive and harmful practices. The Labor Party will completely ban the practice of conversion.”

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