Jo Bartosch watched MPs debate conversion therapy in the House of Commons’ Westminster Hall last night – and was left angry and disappointed by their failure to address the social and medical transition of children and young people as a form of conversion therapy.
Had I have been in the House of Commons yesterday I think I would’ve been escorted from the press gallery. As it was, Crispin Blunt MP was fortunate not to hear the expletives I shot at his livestream speech from my sofa. The subject was the discussion of a 2020 petition calling for a ban on LGBT conversion therapy. Politicians engaged in a debate that veered between a genuine and heartfelt defence of human rights, and cheap posturing for the woke vote. What none found time to acknowledge was that conversion therapy is booming in the UK, and it happens on the NHS.
Conversion therapy is indefensible; it has no place in any country that dares to consider itself civilised. When Elliot Colburn MP detailed horrific experiences of people subjected to these brutal ‘treatments’ their trauma could be heard through his words. He talked of starvation, beatings and humiliation leading to life-long mental anguish.
Politicians engaged in a debate that veered between a genuine and heartfelt defence of human rights, and cheap posturing for the woke vote. What none found time to acknowledge was that conversion therapy is booming in the UK, and it happens on the NHS.
Whilst some victims are taken abroad there is evidence of faith-based conversion therapy happening in the UK. A 2017 investigation by Liverpool Echo reporter Josh Parry revealed a network of 90 Pentecostal churches, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, with some offering so-called ‘gay cures.’
According to a large survey from Government Equalities Office around 2 per cent of respondents to the 2017 National LGBT Survey report being subjected to conversion therapy and 5 per cent to have been offered it. The same survey which “did not provide a definition of conversion therapy” noted that 4% of those who identify as transgender have undergone conversion therapy.
But with no definition of ‘conversion therapy’ it is impossible to know what respondents interpreted as such. 16 per cent of respondents claim the family had subjected them to conversion therapy, and 19 per cent that medical professionals attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is entirely feasible that a plea from a desperate parent for their child not to wear a breast-binder might be interpreted as ‘conversion therapy’ by that young person. Similarly, a counsellor who asks a male to consider whether he might just be gay, not a woman, may just be exercising due diligence not demonstrating bigotry. The data are not disaggregated, meaning it is impossible to know which groups have experienced what.
Suffering from ‘gender dysphoria’ means nothing more than experiencing extreme discomfort in one’s sexed body; a phenomenon disproportionately felt by lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The application of a transgender label to those who feel more comfortable identifying as the opposite sex is as medically baseless as calling someone suffering from anorexia, ‘fat.’ The idea that ‘gender dysphoria’ is caused by a mismatch between ‘gender identity’ and biological sex is unverifiable, not to mention a substantial leap of logic. It is as much a faith-based position as belief in god, and potentially as damaging to those who are same-sex attracted.
Stephanie Davies-Arai is founder of the Transgender Trend, an organisation of academics, parents and professionals which describes itself as ‘concerned about the current trend to diagnose children as transgender.’ She notes:
“Gay and lesbian adolescents tend to be more gender non-conforming, may be bullied and may feel ashamed of their emerging sexual orientation and develop internalised homophobia, making them more vulnerable to the message that they were ‘born in the wrong body’.”
“They are at risk of being ‘affirmed’ as the opposite sex and therefore heterosexual before they have had the chance to come to terms with their sexual orientation. This is a new form of gay conversion therapy for vulnerable lesbian and gay young people who need proper therapeutic and mental health support.”
Looking at the figures it is clear that something strange is going on. In 2009/10 there were 94 referrals to the NHS Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, last year there were 2,728; a rise of 2,634 per cent in a decade. Some patients referred are under five years of age.
Destransitioners are already looking back in horror at what politicians have allowed to happen. Mastectomy scarred bodies and infertile young people are the legacy of the clueless MPs who spoke during yesterday’s debate.
GIDS is at the centre of an unfolding scandal. Over recent years 35 clinicians have resigned with many citing concerns over the influence of transgender lobby groups on medical practice. According to The Times:
“Many potentially gay children were being sent down the pathway to change gender, two of the clinicians said there was a dark joke among staff that “there would be no gay people left”.”
Regrettably, not one of our esteemed elected representatives was brave enough to make the point that the social and medical transition of children and young people is state-sanctioned form of faith-based conversion therapy. There is clearly more political cachet in sneering at the LGB Alliance and feminist campaigners, as Conservative Crispin Blunt chose to do. For once speaking on the same side, the SNP’s John Nicholson added with a startling lack of awareness:
“When I was younger… I would have taken a magic pill to make myself straight, but I now know that that was not because I hated being gay, but because I did not want to be the victim of prejudice. Who does? We know that there is no magic pill, nor do we need one. We need love and acceptance.”
“We look back in horror at the tortures endured by our LGBT brothers and sisters, even in recent history — electro-shock therapy, lobotomy and the chemical castration endured by Alan Turing at the hands of a vicious and ungrateful political class and legal system.
It seems politicians are unaware of the magic pill currently promoted at the GIDS, despite the many publicised failings and ongoing court battle. Homophobia has not gone away, indeed, last night it was boosted by thick politicians desperate to signal their woke credentials.
Destransitioners are already looking back in horror at what politicians have allowed to happen. Mastectomy scarred bodies and infertile young people are the legacy of the clueless MPs who spoke during yesterday’s debate. As John Nicholson himself noted:
“Changing people’s sexual orientation is, as we know, scientifically impossible, but that does not stop bigots from trying.”