Liberal Democrats

F4: Ban Conversion Therapy

Motion as passed by conference

Submitted by: 12 members

Mover: Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett.

Summation: Em Dean.


Conference notes with concern that:

  1. Conversion therapy, an abhorrent and harmful practice which seeks to suppress or change a sexual orientation and/or gender identity, or to induce or compel a person to do so, is still practiced throughout the UK.
  2. Despite repeated commitments, government has not proposed any legislation or other action to end conversion therapy.
  3. According to a 2017 Government survey of LGBT+ people, nearly 1 in 13 LGBT+ people have been offered, or compelled to receive, conversion therapy, rising to 1 in 7 among transgender people, with transgender men being the most at-risk.
  4. According to that same survey, 51% of conversion therapy practices are conducted by faith organisations, with a further 19% being conducted by healthcare and medical professionals.
  5. According to the annual review by ILGA-Europe, the UK is no longer the leading country for LGBT+ rights in Europe, and has been steadily declining in the rankings since 2015.
  6. The ongoing pathologisation and social exclusion of LGBT+ people puts pressure on LGBT+ people to conceal or conform their orientation and/or identity, which further exposes LGBT+ people to predatory practices, such as conversion therapy.

Conference reaffirms:

  1. That Liberal Democrats champion the autonomy of the individual, the fostering of diversity, and the right to privacy, including the right to medical autonomy. These principles are crucial to the protection of LGBT+ orientations and identities.
  2. Our commitment to ensure that the withdrawal of medical conversion therapy by NHS England is effectively extended to transgender, non-binary, and intersex people.
  3. Our alignment with the position of NHS England, NHS Scotland, Public Health Wales, and other leading health, social care, and aid organisations, as noted in the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy (2017), that conversion therapy has "no medical or therapeutic value" and that a conversion therapy ban is not intended to exclude LGBT+ people from accessing "qualified and appropriate" therapists and support. Practices which seek to affirm or support an LGBT+ orientation or identity are not conversion therapy.

Conference calls for:

  1. The banning of conversion practices in all forms - this should include the following:
    1. A criminal ban on all forms of conversion therapy; including those claiming to be psychiatric, psychological, therapeutic, or consultative; or a religious practice such as a prayer or exorcism; or any other medical, scientific, or cultural activity seeking to suppress or change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
    2. A criminal ban on referrals, transportation of minors overseas, and advertising and promotion, for any of the above.
    3. No exemption for religious and faith-based organisations for any of the above.
  2. A campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of conversion therapy among vulnerable people and in social environments where conversion therapy is most likely to be promoted.
  3. Our elected representatives to work to ensure that all LGBT+ people are able to live in freedom, authenticity, and safety.

Applicability: England and Wales.