Views sought on bill to end conversion practices
Views are being sought on proposed legislation to end conversion practices seeking to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The legislation seeks to “prevent and respond to harmful acts” while protecting existing freedoms including speech, religion and belief.
Situations that could be covered by the proposed legislation, if carried out with the intention to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and which cause that person harm, include:
- therapy or counselling that requires a person to change or suppress on their same-sex attraction;
- prescribing medication to suppress a person’s sex drive;
- repeatedly or continuously controlling a person’s activities and appearance; and/or
- repeatedly or continuously threatening or humiliating someone.
Equalities minister Emma Roddick said: “Conversion practices, which aim to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, are damaging and destructive acts that violate people’s human rights. Sadly, these practices still happen today and they have absolutely no place in Scotland.
“In taking forward our commitment to ban conversion practices we are leading the way in the UK and joining the growing list of countries acting to address this harm.
“The consultation responses we receive will help us to further consider those measures we can take to stop the harm of conversion practices and protect those at risk while ensuring that freedoms – including freedoms of speech, religion, and belief – are safeguarded.”
Chief executive at LGBT Health and Wellbeing, Mark Kelvin, said: “Conversion practices are widely discredited and extremely harmful and have no place in any inclusive society. Whilst we’d like to think that they’re a thing of the past, or not happening in Scotland, we know that some LGBTQ+ people in Scotland are still being subjected to these abhorrent practices and we welcome the Scottish Government’s leadership and action on this issue.
“Our freephone helpline is staffed by a trained team who specialise in LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing. Callers can expect compassionate and non-judgmental support, resources to help navigate their experiences, and referrals to other support if needed.”