Banning Conversion Therapy

I submitted a response to the Government’s recent Banning therapy consultation.

As is a theme of this website, my response focussed on definitions and the meaning of terms used — and found the consultation severely lacking.

The consultation evaded giving any cogent definitions of its key terms. Without clear definitions of what is to be banned or if everyone has their own notions of what the various terms used in the consultation actually mean, any resulting law can only cause confusion.

The consultation also conflated two distinct elements:

  • Gender Identity Change Efforts
  • Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

It serves no one to conflate the two other than those determined to push their ideology through at all costs with as little examination as possible.


The consultation proposes to ban LGB conversion practices and T conversion practices. I say more about the terms and their definitions below.

This sounds straightforward and I utterly condemn so-called “gay cure” conversion practices that used to go on, involving electric shock treatments, imprisonment and medication. We already know that efforts to change sexual orientation are harmful with no evidence they work (even if that was a desirable outcome). There is, however, no evidence that such abusive practices are happening now in the UK. Regardless of the fact such practices are already illegal, I support a ban on them if that helped send a progressive societal message.

However, this legislation also includes something completely different: “gender identity” and in particular it risks criminalising explorative practices offered by certified medical professionals as well as lay counsellors, friends and family to children and vulnerable people who are having issues with the way they view themselves in relation to their sex.

My response focusses on these aspects of the consultation.


The use of precise and understandable terminology is essential if meaning and intent are to be properly communicated and understood. The consultation is fatally flawed on this.

Using unclear and potentially misleading terms, definitions and language risks ineffective legislation and confusion, unintended consequences and the potential criminalisation on spurious or unintended grounds. Existing criminal law already outlaws abuse and physical harm, as well as child cruelty, neglect and violence.

New law based on the consultation would enshrine the subjective belief in gender ideology. This will criminalise dissent with that ideology, ensuring that only approved views can be spoken and advocated leaving the only permitted course for medical professionals as one of total affirmation of a single therapeutic pathway.

This will prevent medical professionals from helping those in most need, not just with understanding their gender issues but with a host of other mental health comorbidities.


Please read the full response.

Il faut répéter ici ce que Locke a tant recommandé, définissez les termes.

Voltaire — Dictionnaire philosophique: A comme abus des mots