Govt: feel free to waste your own money on a “gay cure”
The government has responded to a petition calling for an end to ‘gay conversion’ therapy defending the right to spend your own money on something that doesn’t work – and bringing bisexuality into the conversation.
The petition, run through the Westminster Parliament’s own system, had garnered over 11,500 signatures so far and read;
“Make offering gay conversion therapy a criminal offence. Being gay is not an illness, yet to this day gay people are still offered ‘therapies’ to cure themselves. This often involves electroshock, starvation and prayer therapy. This dangerous practice is not yet illegal despite all major psychological bodies ruling it not only ineffective but also harmful. Just months ago the government said they were satisfied they’d ‘already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK – however a recent investigation by a journalist exposed the practice happening at a church.”
With months to go before the petition would formally close, the government has responded early saying:
“The Government totally condemns any attempt to treat being gay, lesbian or bisexual as an illness. However, the Government does not believe creating a criminal offence is the right way forward.
“Gay conversion therapy is an attempt to use therapeutic approaches to change a person’s sexual orientation. It is sometimes known as ‘reparative’ or ‘gay cure’ therapy. The Government fully recognise the importance of this issue and the adverse impact this treatment could have on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people.
“There is no evidence that this sort of treatment is beneficial, and indeed it may well cause significant harm to some patients. It is incumbent on professionals working in the National Health Service to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination.
“This Government is committed to tackling discrimination towards LGBT people. That is why we have already worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), to develop first a consensus statement and then a Memorandum of Understanding committing signatory organisations to a range of activities including training and awareness raising amongst their members in relation to this issue. This Government has already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK.
“We are not aware of the incident referred to in the e-petition.
“Department of Health”
The discussion around the subject in both mainstream and gay press tends to erase bisexuality – frustratingly, given that the few claims made of ‘successful’ conversion probably reflect a bisexual client happening to find a relationship with someone of a different gender.
Further, that some bi people, struggling with both social and internalised biphobia, will seek therapy to help them ‘be’ either gay or straight – but this gets hidden with talk of conversion therapy being solely about turning homosexuals hetero.
Past research showed many therapists, if a client disclosed they were bisexual, would assume that sexual confusion was part of the problem – no matter what issue the patient had actually presented seeking help with.
But in short, while the NHS will no longer squander its limited funds on such quackery, if people want to spend their own money seeking a ‘cure’ that does not exist for a ‘disease’ that is all about warped morality rather than any real disorder, they government’s position is: it’s a free country.