The dangerous and discredited practice might be a thing of the past by the end of the year (Picture: PA)
Ireland is making moves to finally ban LGBTQ+ conversion therapy after almost half a decade since the UK vowed to do so.
Equalities and integration minister Roderic O’Gorman vowed to introduce a bill to ban the ‘cruel process rooted in the promotion of shame’ by the end of the year.
The gay Green Party politician told the Irish Mirror that Ireland must at long last join other EU nations such as Germany in outlawing the traumatising practice.
‘A process that seeks for somebody to change their sexual orientation or gender identity is extremely exploitative, particularly if undertaken on someone under 18,’ he said.
‘I’d hope to bring the legislation into the Dail next year.
‘Obviously, legislation takes time but I think it’s possible we could have it passed by the end of the year. That’s certainly what I’d be working towards but it could drift into 2024.’
Conversion therapy is a discredited and dangerous practice that can see everything from violent electroshock therapy to prayer used in a pointless attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Minister for children equality, disability, integration and youth Roderic O’Gorman (Picture: Maxwells)
The British Medical Association has warned it can cause ‘long-lasting psychological harm, substance abuse, or even suicide’ while human rights groups consider it a form of torture.
For O’Gorman, conversion therapy can be deeply ‘devastating’, especially for young people still exploring their identities.
‘To masquerade where they’re unhappy or nervous that that can be changed, I think it’s just so exploitative,’ he said.
‘From the point of view of having some understanding of the damage that it can do to people, it is something I feel strongly about and something I really want to progress as Equality Minister.’
Stonewall communications and campaigns associate director Sasha Misra said Ireland will soon be in good company.
‘In committing to a ban on conversion practices that seek to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, Ireland is poised to join the growing number of countries across the world who have moved decisively to protect their LGBTQ+ citizens from this degrading practice, which seeks to convince people that being who they are is wrong,’ she told Metro.co.uk.
As Ireland lays out a clear timeline for its conversion therapy ban, the UK might be ‘left behind’, Stonewall warned (Picture: Szymon Barylski/NurPhoto)
‘We must now ask the same of the UK government, who have yet to deliver a ban despite over four years of promises, and now risk being left behind on the world stage.’
Jayne Ozanne, a former LGBTQ+ advisor to the UK government, said she wishes the UK could match the speed that Ireland is aiming to outlaw conversion therapy.
‘I’m thrilled to learn that the Irish government is working at pace to introduce a full ban on abusive “conversion therapy”,’ she told Metro.co.uk.
‘It seems incredulous to me that the UK government is taking so long to do the right and decent thing, which they promised nearly five years ago now.’
Ireland hoping to outlaw conversion by 2024 at the most comes after years of delays and silence from the UK government.
In 2018, then prime minister Theresa May made a simple promise to LGBTQ+ Brits: to ban conversion therapy.
Kemi Badenoch reportedly delayed the UK’s conversion therapy ban – again – after taking the helm of the Government Equalities Office last year (Picture: AFP)
But the years of political turbulence since then, from Brexit to Boris Johnson and Liz Truss’ resignations, have thrown several spanners into the plan.
Equalities officials had hoped to get the ban in the books by spring last year – this never happened.
A consultation into the ban – considered a form of delay by LGBTQ+ activists – was itself delayed by several months.
It even briefly seemed the government had quietly shelved the ban altogether in March last year – that was until Johnson U-turned on his U-turn.
But there was a catch – the ban would no longer include trans and non-binary people even though they are more likely to have undergone the practice.
More than one in 10 trans people have been offered or have experienced conversion therapy, according to the government’s National LGBT Survey
And now the prospect looks even more distant after equalities minister Kemi Badenoch pushed the ban back once again last October, with little sign of when it will be in the cards again.
To Ozanne, who quit the government’s LGBT Advisory Panel over the failure to move ahead with a ban, this isn’t good enough.
‘Minister Badenoch has created a delay by stealth, having failed to indicate when this flagship LGBT+ policy – announced in two Queen’s speeches – will finally be introduced,’ Ozanne added.
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The UK ‘risks being left behind; after failing to ban the practice nearly five years after promising.