Everyone in the UK should be free to live their lives and fulfil their potential regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The LGBT community must be free to prosper in modern Britain.
The issue of conversion therapy is a significant concern for many in the LGBTcommunity. The practice of conversion therapy has no place in civilised society. Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not an illness to be treated or cured. I understand that the Government launched a consultation on how ministers are planning to ban practices of so called 'conversion therapy'. The consultation was extended until February 2022 to allow for ample opportunity for all those to contribute their views including faith groups, LGBT organisations, counselling bodies and charities.
The Government is proceeding with its legislative proposals to ban conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, and bi-sexual individuals. Alongside this, I have been assured that the Government is carrying out separate work on the issue of transgender conversion therapy, this is to ensure that any legislative measures brought forward will not have any unintended consequences. I understand that this is a legally complex area, and as such the Government have a responsibility that any of these unintended consequences are not written into legislation, particularly in the case of under eighteens.
Internationally, the promotion and defence of human rights is an integral part of the UK’s foreign policy, including speaking up for gender equality and LGBT rights, and seeking an end to discrimination where it exists. The UK is clear that every country must fulfil its international human rights obligations.
As co-chair of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC), the UK has launched the ERC's first Strategy and Five Year Implementation Plan that will increase international action to defend the rights of LGBT people around the world. Further information on the plan for 2021 to 2026 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equal-rights-coalition-strategic-plan-2021-to-2026.
I am encouraged by the action of the Government to support the LGBT community in the UK and overseas. However, there is of course more that needs to be done and I will continue to press ministers to fulfil commitments made and provide further support. There is no need to respond to this email, it is merely for information.