I am writing to you as your constituent to ask that you represent my views on the proposed ban on conversion therapy.
As a concerned citizen, of course I support a ban on forcible conversions of young people. I have reservations, however, regarding how a ban on conversion therapy for homosexuality and gender identity would interact. It is a concern to me and many in the LGB community that in questioning their gender identity, many children are questioning their sexual identity or wish not to conform to gender stereotypes.
In the last 15 years, there has been a 4000% increase in young people being referred to the Gender Identity Service (GIDS). Many are gay or lesbian, and many have other issues, such as autistic spectrum disorders, which might make them suggestible or keen to find a solution to what they see as a problem. Recently in the court case brought against the GIDS by its safeguarding lead, Sonia Appleby, the court heard that many of these young people came from homophobic homes. So there is a genuine risk that the state is sanctioning “transing the gay away”, which is my concern in this matter.
Many parents, schools and therapists (as well as the GIDS) have been persuaded by trans lobby groups (such as Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence) to adopt a policy of “acceptance without exception” via an “affirmation only” model. This debars anyone from asking a child whether they are sure of their gender identity. It forbids exploration of whether the child might be gay and struggling to come to terms with that.
There is ample evidence that there are many “detransitioners” and “desisters” from transition – see this story, for instance. Indeed, there is evidence that most teenagers who wish to transition will, if left alone, become comfortable in their own sexed body. You will probably be aware of the case of Keira Bell, for example. So often, it appears as if there is a choice for a young person between being allowed to transition or suicide. Still, the statistics do not support this, and a long-term study shows that suicidal tendencies are not reduced by transition.
There is an enormous body of reading on this subject. Still, it is easier to refer you to a single source (Conversion therapy briefing – Transgender Trend) and invite you, please, to come back to me if you would like any further help.
I ask that you use your influence to help ensure that while a ban on conversion of young gay and lesbian people is speedily enacted, there are caveats in any broader ban so that children are enabled to access supportive, and not merely affirmative, therapy, which can explore their identity, sexuality, and any other issues, in an open-minded way.