It is extremely concerning that the government is considering banning private conversation, counselling, prayer and preaching as “conversion therapy”. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about this term. An excellent discussion on it can be found in this Christian Concern article.
Individuals should be free to move away from unwanted same-sex attraction, and to seek whatever help they choose to assist them with that aim. I know people who have done so.
“Ex-gay” is protected under the Equalities Act, as much a “gay” is a protected characteristic. This has been confirmed in a court of law (paragraph 97 and 98). The government needs to fulfil its duty to ex-gay individuals, protecting their freedoms, instead of oppressing them by denying them access to this help.
The proposal has implications for education, too. In schools, children are taught from the age of four, that there is only one direction in which sexuality can move – and that is away from “heteronormativity”. Both research and reality show that this is not the case.
If the government wishes to include other therapies in its ban, how about the practice of administering puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormone drugs to children who can’t give their consent? Any fair and reasonably-minded person can see that this is “conversion therapy” of the worst kind. Let alone the life-changing surgical mutilation of a child’s body, which many later regret.
It is not right to prevent people who wish to move away from same-sex attraction from talking to, or listening to, those from whom they wish to receive help. And as it happens, it would be breaking statutory and case law to do so.