Metro Weekly

Wales To Pursue Total Conversion Therapy Ban

Wales to pursue full ban on conversion therapy, despite United Kingdom's refusal to ban the practice on transgender individuals.

Conversion Therapy Protest in London by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona via unsplash

In spite of the United Kingdom government and its Prime Minister Boris Johnson refusing to ban the practice of conversion therapy on transgender individuals, the government of Wales plans to institute a ban of its own.

By signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NHS Wales — the country’s publicly funded healthcare system — Welsh government Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn stated that the practice will be “prohibited” in Wales.

Any organization, group, or company that works in “mental or psychological health” and signs onto the MOU makes a “commitment” to not offer conversion therapy in the country, though this agreement does not extend to other parts of the United Kingdom.

Based on further statements made by Blythyn, this move only appears to be a temporary solution to the question of a conversion therapy ban, as the Welsh government “seeks legal advice” to find out how it can “unilaterally” ban the practice.

The government will also be undergoing a process to “better understand” the lasting, negative impacts of conversion therapy.

“We will establish a working group of experts, to include representatives from faith communities; the health and social care sector; and children and young people’s representatives, alongside LGBTQ+ people to help with this work and advise on key elements as a ban is developed,” Blythyn said.

This move by the Welsh government represents yet another wave of resistance to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s — and by extension, the United Kingdom government’s — choice to keep transgender conversion therapy in place. Already, citizens have protested the decision, many LGBTQ organizations (across the world) have condemned it, and elected officials within the United Kingdom government have criticized Johnson for it.

With the Welsh government not only actively working to support its transgender population, but also directly contradicting Johnson’s choice to allow conversion therapy to linger, the pressure on the United Kingdom government to institute a total ban has increased drastically.

Now, a country within the United Kingdom will be instituting policies that extend beyond the overall government’s stance.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Frank Atherton — in a joint statement with Chief Executive of NHS Wales Judith Paget —emphasized how committed the Welsh government was to ending conversion therapy.

“The Welsh Government and NHS Wales fully support the banning of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, witnessed through our signing of the MoU with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy,” the statement reads. “We stand united in our desire to make this abhorrent practice illegal and believe this will offer an important opportunity to support those at risk of conversion therapy as well as victims and survivors.”

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