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UKCP joins leading bodies to unite against conversion therapy

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Publication date: July 4, 2018

UKCP is proud to support the launch of the latest Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK (MoU2) in the Houses of Parliament today, which coincides with the announcement this week of a Government pledge to consider options to end the practice of conversion therapy.

MoU2 has been launched with the backing of all major therapy organisations in the UK, as well as Stonewall, NHS England and NHS Scotland. It makes clear that conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation (including asexuality) is unethical, potentially harmful and is not supported by evidence.

Conversion therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis. The primary purpose of the MoU2 is the protection of the public through a commitment to ending the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK.

The MoU2 also intends to ensure that:

  • The public are well informed about the risks of conversion therapy
  • Healthcare professionals and psychological therapists are aware of the ethical issues relating to conversion therapy
  • New and existing psychological therapists are appropriately trained
  • Evidence into conversion therapy is kept under regular review
  • This position is not intended to deny, discourage or exclude those with uncertain feelings around sexuality or gender identity from seeking qualified and appropriate help.
  • This document supports therapists to provide appropriately informed and ethical practice when working with a client who wishes to explore, experiences conflict with or is in distress regarding, their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Professionals from across the health, care and psychological professions work together to achieve the above goals.

All signatory organisations are united behind the message that sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders – although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses – and that anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of pressure to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.

Ahead of the launch, UKCP Chair Martin Pollecoff said: ‘We are hugely proud of the role UKCP and its members, alongside our 15 fellow signatory organisations, have played over recent years in the development of this Memorandum of Understanding.

‘It is a crucial step on the road to ending conversion therapy, and we are delighted to be able to launch the document in Parliament – particularly in the same week that the Government finally announced that it would take steps to support this cause.’

Responding to the Government’s announcement, Dr Igi/Lyndsey Moon, who chairs the Coalition, said: ‘This is a clear sign that the Government has at long last listened to LGBT individuals and national organisations who have tirelessly campaigned for change.

‘We, along with our Coalition partners, have repeatedly called for an end to the practice of Conversion Therapy and will work with the Government to ensure it delivers on its promise. The Coalition will fully engage with the forthcoming consultation on the best way to implement an end to this practice.’