While the UK Parliament recognizes being LGBTI is not a disease, and sexual orientation conversion therapy is ‘both ineffective and potentially extremely harmful,’ conversion therapy is rampant in the UK.
So Labour MP for Swansea West Geraint Davies published today (12 December) a bill that if made law would ban psychotherapists from offering gay-to-straight conversion therapy.
In an interview with BBC, Davies explained since the government has taken the ‘completely ridiculous’ position of refusing to ban treatment outright, he seeks to create a system of accountability among medical professionals.
‘Anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor or psychotherapist without training or experience with no recourse for the patient if something goes wrong,’ Davies said last month during the first hearing of the proposed bill.
The Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill, which will get its second reading in the House of Commons 24 January, would require all practicing psychiatrists and therapists to register with the Health and Care Professions Council, which will in turn publish a code of ethics prohibiting gay-to-straight conversion therapy.
Practitioners found to engage in gay conversion therapy would be banned from practicing.
Davies called conversion therapy a process that ‘generates trauma and is ineffective’ and ‘an open-door for people to inflict trauma’ when people need to be coming to terms with their sexual orientation.
Despite the government’s apparent anti-conversion stance, a recent investigation revealed ‘1 in 6 UK psychiatrists has assisted a client in reducing homosexual and lesbian feelings,’ he said.
When asked if people should be able to choose whether or not they want to undergo such therapy, Davies responded: ‘Psychotherapists should be a regulated regime, and regulated and accredited regimes shouldn’t allow therapy which causes trauma.’