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by Louise Wilson
18 November 2021
Government creates advisory group on conversion therapy ban

Government creates advisory group on conversion therapy ban

An expert group will be established to consider how to ban conversion therapy in Scotland.

The Scottish Government made the announcement amid a row within the SNP about such a move.

But the government has previously committed to legislation to end the practice, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, by the end of 2023.

The advisory group will begin its work next year and involve people with personal experience of conversion therapy, LGBTI organisations, faith communities and mental health professionals.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison said there was “no place in our society” for conversion practices.

She said: “We will explore how legislation can best protect and support those who need it, while ensuring that freedoms – including freedoms of speech, religion, and belief – are safeguarded.

“We are also considering what non-legislative steps we can take to end conversion practices, and support survivors.”

Earlier this week, SNP MP Joanna Cherry came under fire – including from her party colleagues – for comments she made about the practice.

Cherry tweeted that while “any right thinking person should oppose” conversion therapy, “we must not make it a criminal offence for therapists to try to help patients with gender dysphoria to feel comfortable in their birth sex.”

Separately, a group of eight SNP MPs – including deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman – has written to the UK government calling for an end to the practice across the country.

The letter said: “The UK Government should bring forward legislation as soon as is practicable to ban conversion therapy which is a dangerous and abhorrent practice.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament’s equalities committee is considering a petition on the matter.

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