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Tipsheet

UK Vows to Ban ‘Conversion Therapy’ for Transgender People

AP Photo/Armando Franca

A new law to ban all forms of conversion therapy in England and Wales will include people who identify as transgender.

“Conversion therapy” is a practice to “change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression,” according to LGBT+ organization GLAAD

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Originally, the conversion therapy ban would not include transgender people, BBC reported. But, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan later said in a statement that the bill would “protect everyone, including those targeted on the basis of their sexuality, or being transgender.”

“This is a complex area,” Donelan wrote. “The legislation must not, through a lack of clarity, harm the growing number of children and young adults experiencing gender related distress, through inadvertently criminalizing or chilling legitimate conversations parents or clinicians may have with their children.”

“We recognise the strength of feeling on the issue of harmful conversion practices and remain committed to protecting people from these practices and making sure they can live their lives free from the threat of harm or abuse,” she continued.

According to Catholic News Agency, Catholic bishops in Scotland warned that the proposal would “outlaw pastoral care, prayer, parental guidance and advice relating to sexual orientation, expression of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” that does not fall in line with government-deemed “affirmative care.”

“These proposals, if passed by the Scottish Parliament, would criminalize mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical or other professional intervention relating to sexual orientation, unless it was approved by the State as acceptable,” the bishops warned Jan. 16.

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“Priests could be banned from working in Scotland, the Church could lose its charitable status, and classroom and pastoral teachers could lose their jobs,” they said. “There would be uncertainty about the future of Catholic schools and children could be taken away from their parents. As the first educators of their children, parents alone have the right to advise and guide their children in such matters.”

This week, the UK took action to stop a Scottish measure that would make it easier for residents to legally change their gender, which Townhall covered. Spain unveiled similar measures around the same time.

Late last year, England’s National Health Service (NHS) issued guidance that transgender minors could be experiencing a “transient phase,” which Townhall also covered

This guidance came after the NHS announced that it would shutter its only dedicated gender identity clinic for children in response to recommendations from an “expert review.” The review criticized the clinic’s long waiting lists and “raised concerns over a lack of consensus about how the health service should assess, diagnose and treat young people seeking gender services,” Reuters reported.

Daily Mail reported that “at least 15 children” under the age of 4 years old were referred to the NHS Tavistock clinic to undergo “gender-affirming” care, which can include hormone therapy treatments, puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery. In total, over 5,000 children were referred to the controversial clinic in the past two years. Only half of the referrals were for children aged 15-plus. 

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A separate report from the outlet found that the number of children seeking “gender-affirming” services, which includes hormone replacement therapy and irreversible surgeries, grew by two-thirds in less than two years. Reportedly, nearly 8,000 children are on the waitlist for gender treatment from the NHS. 

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