In this week’s Spectator, I’ve written about Rishi Sunak’s plans to publish a bill banning conversion therapy. The baffling thing about this is that conversion therapy, as commonly understood, has been banned in this country for years. So what is it the Prime Minister wants to ban?
The bill hasn’t been published, but my fear is it will look a lot like the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act passed in the Australian state of Victoria in 2021. As in the U.K., pseudo-scientific ‘treatments’ for homosexuality were already criminal offences in Victoria when the act received royal assent, but the new law went further. For instance, a religious leader who has a conversation with a member of their congregation in which they urge them to resist their homosexual desires can now be jailed for up to ten years if they have caused injury, which includes “harm to mental health”.
In addition, the act prohibits any “conduct directed towards a person for the purpose of changing or suppressing their… gender identity, or inducing them to do so”. In other words, if a girl who believes she’s a boy is urged by her doctor to see a psychotherapist before having surgery, that doctor would be breaking the law. The only approach a medical professional is allowed to take when faced with a teenager suffering from gender dysphoria – which is still listed in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders – is to affirm the child’s self-diagnosis and facilitate whatever ‘treatment’ they’ve seen on TikTok.
According to some critics of the Victorian law, it even prohibits parents from trying to dissuade their children from taking puberty blockers.
Worth reading in full.
If you want to write to your MP and urge them to ask Rishi Sunak not to publish this bill, you can do so by using the Free Speech Union’s campaigning tool.
You can also watch me talking about this on Spectator TV here.