Labour would introduce ‘no loopholes ban on conversion therapy’

A “no loopholes”, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy would be introduced under a Labour government, according to the shadow women and equalities secretary.

People responsible for anti-LGBT+ hate crime would also receive the “tougher sentences they deserve”, Anneliese Dodds said.

Concerns have been expressed in Parliament in recent weeks over the whereabouts of the Government’s draft proposals to ban conversion therapy, which seeks to suppress a person’s sexual or gender identity.

It added the Bill must not inadvertently criminalise parents or clinicians who need to be able to have “legitimate conversations” with children and young adults experiencing gender-related distress.

The proposals were initially intended to be “universal” and protect all LGBT people, although in 2022 then-prime minister Boris Johnson defended a decision not to include trans people.

In January 2023, the Government said it would set out how it would ban conversion therapy for “everyone” – including transgender people – in England and Wales.

Ms Dodds, speaking at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, said: “Combating inequality is fundamental to our party, it’s why we’ll always take the right decision over the easy one and we’ll never descend into the gutter, where the Conservatives wish to take us.

“I know it’s been a difficult year for many LGBT+ people. Rising hate crime, including physical attacks, a Tory Government that treats their lives and their rights as a political football, and a Prime Minister that sees them as a cheap punchline.

“Labour will never do that. We believe everyone deserves to be accepted without exception and treated with respect and dignity.

“That’s why we will tackle the rising tide of hate with stronger laws so those who carry out anti-LGBT+ hate crime get the tougher sentences they deserve.

“We will deliver where the Conservatives have failed by bringing in a full, no loopholes, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy.”

Ms Dodds also reiterated the party’s intention to modernise gender recognition legislation.

In July, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said a self-identification system to allow transgender people to legally identify as their chosen gender without a medical diagnosis is not the “right way forward”.

Speaking on Sunday, Ms Dodds told delegates: “We will modernise the gender recognition law to a new process while continuing to support the implementation of the Equality Act that protects everyone.”

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