Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom announced a ban on conversion therapy in her speech opening the new session of Parliament earlier today. Known as the Queen’s Speech, the remarks were delivered before a reduced audience in the House of Lords in London.
“Measures will be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy,” Queen Elizabeth II read from the prepared remarks.
While the speech opening each session of the British Parliament is delivered by the reigning monarch, the text of the speech itself is traditionally written by the Prime Minister and is seen as an announcement of the plans and policies of the incoming government. The United Kingdom is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with the monarch having little role in running the government. So while the Queen might have been the one delivering the speech, the ban on conversion therapy reflected the determination of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to eliminate the debunked practice once and for all.
Conversion therapy is any set of methods or practices that seek to alter a person's gender identity and/or sexuality. They range from "praying the gay away" to torture. Evidence shows these practices are not only ineffective, but result in depression, and even death by suicide. The practice is opposed by a wide range of medical and LGBTQ+ advocacy and support groups, including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, Human Rights Campaign, Born Perfect, and The Trevor Project.
Johnson has in the past made known his opposition to conversion therapy and his desire to ban the practice. As mayor of London, he banned ads for the controversial practice on the city’s subway system and he once declared it has “no place in civilized society.”
However, his efforts to ban the practice as prime minister hit a snag earlier this year with the resignation of equalities advisor Jayne Ozanne and two others from the government’s LGBT advisory panel, citing a hostility to the LGBTQ+ community from some senior advisors and the slow pace of enacting a ban on conversion therapy. Ozanne told ITV she “warmly” welcomed the news of an impending ban, but also feared more needless delays.
“The government simply need to protect the lives of all LGBT people by doing what the UN has advised and banning all forms of conversion therapy, including religious practices,” They have consulted long enough, now it is time to act and bring forward legislation that protects everyone from this inhumane and degrading abuse.