We are aware that conversations endorsing ‘conversion therapy’* have begun to appear online and in the media, specifically in the context of targeting transgender children and young people; LGBT Youth Scotland is appalled by this. We would like to be very clear, no form of ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBT people should be considered ethical or acceptable in a modern Scotland or throughout the UK.
Conversion therapy has damaged generations of LGBT young people and adults and continues to do so. A recent UK government survey found that 2 per cent of its 108,000 UK respondents had undergone conversion therapy; a further 5 per cent had been offered it. These figures were higher for trans respondents: more than 4% had experienced conversion therapy and a further 8% had been offered it.
There is significant evidence that conversion is harmful to LGBT people with reported effects including depression and anxiety. All major psychological, psychotherapeutic and counselling organisations in the UK, including the British Psychological Society (BPS), British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, and NHS Scotland are clear that conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation (including asexuality) is unethical, potentially harmful and is not supported by evidence. To consolidate this, they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to protect the public through a commitment to end the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK. More information on their memorandum of understanding can be found here.
LGBT Youth Scotland feels strongly that the rights of trans young people need to be realised and that narratives about their lives are becoming increasingly inaccurate, harmful and sensationalised. As February is LGBT History Month in the UK, now is the time reflect on what we have learnt and work together to make Scotland an inclusive nation for LGBT people now and in the future.
*Note: ‘Conversion therapy’ is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.
If you are aged 13 -25 and have been negatively affected by conversion therapy - please get in touch with LGBT Youth Scotland via our Digital Support services.
Adults over 25 who have been affected can contact LGBT Health and Wellbeing for support.