A ban on the controversial practice has been long promised but could finally be brought into action
The government has pledged to open a new consultation on bringing an end to conversion therapies in the UK, following an announcement as part of the Queen’s Speech earlier today.
Conversion therapies aim to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity and include prayer or other verbal therapy. The practices assume that gender identity and sexuality are mental illnesses which can be ‘cured’ – something which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) charity Stonewall describe as “unethical and harmful”.
Nearly two thirds of Britons (64%) believe the practice of conversion therapy should be banned, with only 15% opposed to it being prohibited – around the same findings as a similar version of this survey last year.
Support for banning conversion therapy is shared across the political spectrum, including 73% of Labour voters as well as some six in ten (62%) Conservatives – with the main difference being that more Conservative voters are unsure (24% vs 14% of Labour voters) rather than directly opposed to conversion therapy being banned (14% vs 12%).
Those in favour of banning the practice includes some 63% of those who describe themselves as religious, versus 71% of those who are not religious.
Just over six in ten people in all age brackets are also in favour of banning conversion therapy.
Does the government need specialist advisors for LGBT issues?
Theresa May’s government previously pledged to end the practice as part of its LGBT equality plan, however slow progress led to the resignation of several key advisors in March 2021 and the panel being disbanded. A new panel is due to be set up soon.
Britons tend to think that the government should have a special advisory board to help it make decisions that affect the LGBT community – however not all agree.
While 45% of Britons think that the government could have such an advisory board, just over a quarter (28%) think they should not, and another 26% are unsure.
Conservative voters tend to be opposed (41%) to an advisory panel dedicated to advising ministers on issues and policies concerning LGBT people, compared to only 16% of Labour voters.
There is a split within those with religious beliefs, where some 38% agree that the government should have such a panel, while 36% do not. Of the non-religious, 44% think the government should have a specialist panel for LGBT issues, with 28% opposed and the remainder (28%) unsure.
Half of 18 to 24-year olds (52%) think the government should have a board to consult for issues concerning the LGBT community, but this support falls as age increases, bottoming out at 34% among the oldest Britons.
Even if the government does consult specialist advisors, not all Britons are convinced their input finds its way into policy. Only four in ten Britons (42%) think that advice from specialists influences policy decisions to a great (9%) or moderate extent (33%). A quarter (23%) think it only influences policy to a small extent, and some 6% think that specialist advice plays no extent at all in policy making.
See full results here