Home > News > Faith & LGBTQA+ Groups Share Support For New Government Bill To End Conversion Practices

18 March 2024   |    News

Faith & LGBTQA+ Groups Share Support For New Government Bill To End Conversion Practices

Today (18/3/24) we hosted an event bringing together 10 diverse faith leaders, faith groups and LGBTQA+ Survivors of Conversion Practices to discuss the Scottish Government’s new draft Bill and proposals to end conversion practices in Scotland.  

These groups came together to discuss the proposals and to share support for the community and finally seeing an end to these practices in Scotland.  

 The purpose of the event was to bring together faith leaders and survivors of conversion practices to have a sensitive, productive and informed discussion about the legislation being proposed by the Scottish Government to end conversion practices. 

Dr Rebecca Crowther, CEO of Equality Network chaired the event and the groups discussed key points relating to the legislation including; A trans inclusive ban on conversion practices, the inclusion of “suppression” in the definition of conversion practices, the civil aspects of proposals and the importance of awareness and work within communities. They also discussed ensuring that “consent” is not a defence and that there is clear protection of freedom of religion and belief and freedom of expression – and the need for a Bill that will protect all in the community from the harm that conversion practices cause.  

Rebecca Crowther, CEO of Equality Network and member of The Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices said,  

“Bringing together people of faith, LGBTQIA+ community members, survivors and people who may be at risk of experiencing conversion practices is so important.  Creating a space in which faith leaders, and LGBTQIA+ people of all faiths and none can openly and safely discuss the Scottish Government proposals has allowed for a meaningful and constructive dialogue to take place. Most importantly it has allowed people of faith to show clear and unwavering support for ending these practices once and for all in Scotland.” 

 “Conversion Practices are insidious, complex and deeply harmful – work with and within faith communities is absolutely imperative if we want to get this right for everyone, and to ensure no more LGBTQA+ people are harmed by these practices in Scotland.” 

Reverend Elder Cecilia Eggleston, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches said,  

“The proactive stance taken by the Scottish Government on conversion practices is supported by Metropolitan Community Churches. As a denomination, we have campaigned against such practices around the world and welcome Scotland’s commitment to making sure every LGBTQIA+ person is able to live as themselves, fully and without fear.

“Conversion practices do terrible harm to individuals on two levels. Firstly, they can cause profound trauma and distress to the person on the receiving end of the attempts to change who they are. Secondly, they often drive these individuals from faith communities that they love, where they have friends and family. The faith community also suffers, as they lose those who would otherwise stay and be active participants.  

 “It is encouraging to see increasing numbers of faith communities recognising the breadth of human sexuality and gender identity – all reflecting God the Creator.” 

The Iona Community’s LGBTQ+ Network has spoken out about the dangers of conversion practices. Revd. Dr. Alex Clare-Young, moderator of the Iona Community’s LGBTQ+ Common Concern Network said,  

“As a trans, queer survivor of conversion practices in Scotland and as an ordained minister it gives me hope for the futures of faith communities and of LGBTQ+ people to be a part of respectful, open and rigorous conversations that enable transformation and justice.”

Useful links

  1. Link to Scottish Government consultation on ending conversion practices, open until April 2nd: https://consult.gov.scot/equality-and-human-rights/ending-conversion-practices/consultation/ and more on proposals here; https://www.gov.scot/publications/ending-conversion-practices-scotland-scottish-government-consultation/ 
  2. Link to our webpages about conversion practices: https://www.equality-network.org/cp

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