The UK’s National Union of Students LGBT+ conference has voted to renew calls for the UK Government to ban gay cure therapy.
Last year the UK Prime Minister Theresa May rejected a 33,000 strong call to make ‘gay cure’ therapy illegal.
The original petition condemned the dangerous and worldwide practice. Now the NUS LGBT+ conference, held in the English town Stratford Upon Avon, is renewing calls for a UK ban.
In their new policy, they say: ‘A report by Stonewall found that one in ten staff in the NHS has witnessed a colleague expressing a belief that sexual orientation can be “cured.”
‘The government has chosen not to make conversion therapy illegal, because there is no ‘widespread’ evidence of gay cure therapy in the UK. But, whether ‘widespread’ or not, conversion therapy is always wrong. So the UK government should legislate to make conversion therapy illegal.’
Gay Star News has reached out to the Government Equalities Office for comment.
Last year when the prime minister rejected calls to make the practice illegal, The Department of Health said they had ‘already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK.’
But countries elsewhere in the world are setting precedents on banning the controversial practice.
What else happened at the NUS LGBT+ Conference?
Putting aside how the small English town, that is also the birthplace of Shakespeare, dealt with a bunch of bright eye student queers taking the place by storm; here is a round-up of what happened this year.
The purpose of the conference is to set a mandate for the campaign, and the direction of the three paid national officers who represent LGBTI students all over the UK.
This now includes Northern Ireland after a policy was passed to provide financial support to the otherwise separate campaign there. As part of this, the campaign will also be supporting the work of activists there fighting for marriage equality to be extended to the only part of the UK where same-sex couples can not get married, though they can have civil unions.
Other policy points focused on the way the LGBTI community is having sex. This included putting better sex education at the forefront of the campaign. They also noted the need to highlight the rising trend of chemsex, using drugs to for sex, as part of their sex education policy.
They will also be campaigning for the full decriminalization of sex work.
Following this year’s focus on homelessness at National Student Pride, the campaign has also chosen to focus its work on tackling the crisis which saw an estimated 11,000 young LGBTI people lose their homes last year.
Nikki Hayden, President of the LGBTI society at the Uni of Westminster who submitted the homelessness motion tells GSN:
‘Figures show a disproportionate number of young homeless people are LGBT+. They are losing their homes after they come out to their family. Homelessness has sky-rocketed in the last few years under Conservative leadership, with little being done to reduce this trend. Government investment in building social housing is needed.’
Officer elections dogged by racial slurs
The NUS LGBT+ has three elected officers, a women’s place, trans officer, and open place officer. The conference voted on the womens and open place positions.
However, this year’s election race were dogged by a debate around the use of the ‘n-word’ by one candidate. Cherelle Mitchell apologized for the tweet where she used the word, pulling out of the race for the women’s officer.
This left newcomer Eden Ladley to beat the current women’s place officer Beth Douglas. Douglas’s campaign was hit by a series of resignations from the NUS LGBT+ committee at the conference. They resigned on the basis Douglas forced decisions through ‘undemocratically’ and was difficult to communicate with. Gay Star News has reached out to Douglas for comment.
Rob Noon was elected to the open place position.
And then there were the tweets you might have missed
In a conference fuelled by emotions and grass roots activism, the tweets detailing the highs and lows of whirlwind 48 hours – are always a marvel to enjoy at the end of any NUS LGBT+ conference.
From the likes of finding popcorn in your hijab, to taking a dip in the hotel pool here is a round-up of the best:
Much popcorn. Popcorn everywhere
Important democratic debates about the spice girls took place
They also played a lot of bingo
Don’t forget the queer rabbit memes
And of course, there was the classic Grindr mistake