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‘It’s upsetting and disgusting’: Young trans people on the muddled conversion therapy ban

While the government will ban conversion therapy for gay and bisexual people, it will not do the same when it comes to members of the trans community


The government’s muddled conversion therapy ban is receiving a huge backlash as it’s been revealed that it won’t protect trans people from the harmful practice.

Last night, leaked documents suggested prime minister Boris Johnson was planning to scrap the ban altogether.

The government then u-turned and said it plans to press forward with the ban but with one catch: while it will protect gay and bisexual people, it won’t cover conversion therapy relating to trans people.

Matthias Robins volunteers at LGBT+ youth charity Just Like Us. He’s also trans, and has described the recent revelations as “upsetting and disgusting.”

“Being trans in the UK is hard enough with long waiting lists to even have an initial appointment and everyone trying to push my existence as a political agenda,” Matthias told The Tab.

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Matthias

He’s muted all mentions of transgender news on social media, finding that it triggers memories of darker times. Matthias says that too often he’s seen evidence of concerned parents taking their trans kids to sessions with gender critical therapists.

The same parents then proclaim their child is “no longer transgender.” Matthias said: “This is never the case. Their child is now repressing their transgender identity.”

He adds: “The government is telling trans people across the UK that treatment like this is okay, suggesting that we deserve to be beaten down by medical professionals with gender critical views and that we need to change.

“This decision suggests that it’s unacceptable for cisgender gay, bisexual, and lesbian people to go through a traumatising experience, but acceptable for transgender people.

“Coming out as transgender can already be such a traumatising experience for many trans people, but the idea that the government is okay with British people going through inhumane treatment to repress a part of ourselves is honestly upsetting and disgusting.”

Phoenix, who is also trans, said the news about the ban “has created a new tier of people, those worthy of abuse, and those not.”

Phoenix, who is also trans, said the news about the ban “has created a new tier of people, those worthy of abuse, and those not.”

Kestral is a writer and a volunteer, who thinks the government has sent a very clear message that it doesn’t support trans people.

“If they are willing to throw us to the wolves on conversion therapy, then what hope do we have on improving our healthcare or basic human rights?

“This government clearly feels that it can pick and choose which minority groups to support, creating a huge divide in the quality of life in the UK for so many. First then came for transgender people – who next? We must stand together.”

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Kestral

Leni Morris is the CEO of Galop, an LGBT+ charity dedicated to fighting abuse. She is “deeply concerned” by the recent revelations and says “a ban without our trans siblings is not a ban.”

Leni told The Tab: “So-called conversion therapy is psychological and physical abuse, and LGBT+ people in this country are being put through it simply because of who they are. We need this ban. We need it for the whole community.”

According to a new report by Galop, five per cent of LGBT+ people surveyed said they had experienced some form of conversion therapy, driven largely by their own family members. For trans people, this rate goes up to 11 per cent.

“The government first promised a ban on conversion therapy in 2018,” Leni said. “In the four years since that promise, too many members of our community have been subjected to this abuse.

“Too many are continuing to be left at risk. Our community deserves to be safe, and we have been waiting too long to be protected.”

For anyone needing support, our National Conversion Therapy Helpline is open on 0800 130 3335 and [email protected].

Featured image credit: Shutterstock / JessicaGirvan

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• The media needs to stop demonising trans people – this Bristol Uni case is a prime example

• Conversion therapy ban will go ahead but won’t cover trans people