Some months ago, our group had a vote on what its first priority campaign should be. We had three great pitches for potential campaigns. One was a campaign against homophobic bullying in schools, with the aim of ensuring every school took it seriously and had a homophobic bulling policy; another was about international campaigning for gay rights in other countries; and another was to end gay conversion or “reparative” therapy in the UK.
Ultimately, it was the campaign to end gay conversion therapy in Britain which won the vote. Since then, we’ve been looking into the facts and policy, cultivating links locally, in Parliament and across the country; and petitioning far and wide for a change in the law. We’ve promoted the petition at Hull Pride and received coverage in pink news, and we continue to work with local groups like the LGBT Forum and others to get all the assistance we can.
Our aim is to raise awareness about the problem of conversion therapy in Britain, and especially in Parliament – where it is rarely if ever discussed – with the hope that by the end of next year, gay conversion therapists peddling a fake cure can no longer hide behind the legitimacy of legality. Other campaigns against gay conversion in the UK in the past have attracted much support but have, in our views, failed to cultivate the Parliamentary link nearly enough.
We aim to redress this with a Parliamentary paper petition, presented formally to the House of Commons, calling for the end of conversion therapy in Britain. We also hope to promote the campaign in parliament in any way possible, from Early Day Motions to Private Members Bills. Watch this space for more draft letters and further progress on our campaign as we try to get more and more MPs on our side. Unfortunately there is no way to utilise what for us would be the ideal option: combining an online and a paper petition to the House of Commons all-in-one, so we had to choose one or the other. In our view, online petitions are not as effective as is often assumed so we opted for a paper petition because of its physical impact: MPs will see it being submitted.
If Britain ended the heinous practice of gay conversion therapy, its effects would reach far further than the multitude of LGBT sufferers of such fake “cures”. It would send a message to LGBT people across the country and indeed around the world that there is an alternative to the daily torrent of abuse, doubt and self-criticism they impose on themselves because others are unwilling to accept them for who they are. The problem is not that LGBT people cannot come to terms with their own sexuality, but that the world is not yet ready to come to terms with it. If you agree, please don’t hesitate to help sign and distribute our petition, keep checking this site, and contact us if you have any questions.