Ban on trans conversion therapy should be delayed to make sure parents and teachers can check if child wants to change gender, equalities chiefs say
- A watchdog said the ban on trans conversion therapy should be delayed
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission said the proposed rules are wrong
- They claim the proposals would have a ‘chilling effect’ on therapists in the area
- It said the ban on gay conversion therapy should be brought in immediately
Dr Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has been commissioned to complete an independent report into the impact of the new legislation on therapists helping people dealing with gender dysphoria
Ministers must delay a controversial ban on conversion therapy for trans people until it is changed to protect families, teachers and doctors, the equalities watchdog said last night.
In a major intervention, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the current proposals would have a ‘chilling effect’ on therapists who want to help people dealing with ‘gender dysphoria’.
The condition means someone does not feel happy with their biological sex. The watchdog said the proposals must be changed to ensure parents and teachers are not criminalised for questioning whether a child really wants to change their gender. The EHRC said doctors and therapists must be able to ‘reconcile’ children to their biological sex if that is in their best interests.
It stressed the law must not prevent priests and other religious leaders advising congregations on sexual matters.
The EHRC said that, while uncontroversial proposals to ban therapy designed to ‘make gay people straight’ should be brought in as soon as possible, the part on trans people should be delayed until more research has been done. Last night a government source said ministers were looking closely at the EHRC report – indicating they could delay the ban on conversion therapy for trans people.
The intervention comes amid fears that, under the new laws, teachers would be unable to stop a boy changing in a girls’ changing room or competing in girls’ sports.
In its response to a government consultation, the EHRC said laws on trans conversion should not be introduced until the completion of an independent review by Dr Hilary Cass. The former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is reviewing NHS gender identity services for children and young people.
However, LGBTQ+ rights organisation Stonewall accused the EHRC of an ‘attack on trans equality’ and of effectively seeking to ‘exclude trans people from improved rights and protections’
It added: ‘We recommend that legislation should initially focus on banning conversion therapy attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation, where the evidence and impacts are clearer.
‘Legislation to ban conversion therapy attempting to change a person to or from being transgender should follow, once more detailed and evidence-based proposals are available which can be properly scrutinised.’ Last night a Whitehall source said: ‘The Government will take this submission very seriously. The EHRC has provided the Government with a lot of evidence to reflect on how to take forward the ban.’
However, LGBTQ+ rights organisation Stonewall accused the EHRC of an ‘attack on trans equality’ and of effectively seeking to ‘exclude trans people from improved rights and protections’.
It said: ‘The EHRC is calling for further delays to legislation that our communities have been waiting on for many years. We are deeply troubled by the approach the EHRC is taking to trans people’s human rights. Their approach appears to focus on pleasing a noisy minority of anti-trans activists rather than promoting human rights for all LGBTQ+ people.’
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