Alicia Kearns MP warns conversion therapy ban may be hijacked

Alicia Kearns MP warns conversion therapy ban may be hijacked

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns has expressed concern and “disappointment” that a ban on so-called conversion therapy is being used by fanatics to impose their backward views on trans rights.

In January 2023, Tory MP for Rutland and Melton, Alicia Kearns, proposed an amendment to the Children’s Protection section of the Online Safety Act that would have provided for an advertising break and the promotion of conversion therapy for those under 18.

Kearns tells PinkNews she has been abused for her work, which tries to protect young people from “quacks and charlatans who profit from misery,” and has seen some people’s suggestions for an “axe to sharpen ‘ used against the rights of transgender people.

For Kearns, legislation against LGBTQ+ conversion therapy is “the only national law I’ve wanted to introduce since I was elected” because she believes the practices are “fundamentally wrong.”

“Love is not a disease. Conversion therapy isn’t therapy and being LGBTQ+ doesn’t need treatment,” she told PinkNews.

“I just don’t have a natural personality to watch people being made to feel like there’s something wrong with them.”

The latest draft Online Safety Bill – currently at second reading in the House of Lords – ultimately failed to include the amendment, but Kearns saw it as an opportunity to show “demonstrative support” for a switching ban on therapy practices.

The support Kearns has received from fellow MPs across the political spectrum has “allowed” the government to have “talks” with her about introducing the long-delayed legislation.

On January 17, 2023, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan announced that the government would publish a bill setting out a proposed approach to banning conversion practices for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

However, in the context of the divided political landscape surrounding trans rights, Kearns was “disappointed” that fanatics are using the conversion therapy ban as an “opportunity” to “advance the discussions they want to have about trans rights.”

She stresses that the legislation is about prosecuting “quacks and charlatans who profit from misery, bigotry and torture” and not “attempting to criminalize parents” or “prohibiting people from freedom of expression.”

“What we really have to be careful about is that I don’t want people to abuse the Conversion Therapy Act to advance their own ax that they need to grind around transgender rights and laws.

“People need to realize that what I’m trying to do has very limited and specific safeguards,” she says.

News of the fully trans-inclusive ban came at the same time the government announced it would block Scotland’s landmark gender reform bill.

The law, which would have made it easier for trans people to update their birth certificates, was passed in Holyrood in December but was subsequently vetoed by the UK government in an unprecedented move using Section 35 of the Scotland Act.

The deputy was mistreated

In a frank conversation with PinkNews, the MP opened up about the abuse she has received through the Inclusive Conversion Therapy Act from people who have accused her of “poaching gay people” and said she doesn’t want to protect children.

The stumbling block for transphobes is that the ban would prevent organizations and individuals from trying to prevent trans people from being trans.

“The point here is to protect people from charlatans and to ensure that anyone who seeks advice always gets it from accredited and regulated people,” she explains.

β€œI just wish people would take a step back and realize that this is something that is inherently good and can be done in the right way to keep people safe.

“We haven’t seen conversion therapy bills cause problems around the world.”

A ban on conversion therapy has been a long time coming

The notable part of the conversion therapy bill is that Donelan said the forthcoming legislation will “protect everyone,” including trans people who were previously exempted from a proposed ban.

The legislation to eradicate vile conversion therapy practices comes almost five years after the government initially promised to ban it.

The Tories first pledged to stamp out the abusive practices under Theresa May’s administration in 2018.

After May’s resignation, Boris Johnson’s government had to take over the process of drafting a bill to ban the practice and publish a consultation in 2021.

However, Johnson announced in March 2022 that he would drop plans to draft the bill, but after public outcry, the government quickly did a U-turn and vowed to implement the ban – albeit controversially not for transgender and non-binary people.

How did this story make you feel?

Send answer…

Thank you for your feedback!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *