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Our letter about conversion practices in today’s The National (23 Nov)

IN Monday’s long letter, Andy Anderson describes how he and his wife gave what sounds like excellent support to a young person who was questioning their gender identity. What he describes is certainly not conversion therapy, and would not be affected by any ban.

Conversion “therapy” is defined as practices directed at a person with the aim of changing or suppressing the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. For example, “therapy” directed towards a trans person that has the pre-determined aim that they should continue living in the gender assigned to them at birth, or directed towards a gay person with the aim that they cease to be interested in a relationship with someone of the same gender.

Non-judgemental, non-directive counselling and support, which is aimed at helping a person explore what their sexual orientation and/or gender identity are, and freely decide what they want to do, is not conversion practice. It is not covered by the definition, and would not be included in any ban.

Conversion practices cause immense harm. In many cases, they cause severe and long-lasting mental health problems. That is why all five parties in the Scottish Parliament committed, in their election manifestos in May, to ending them.

The Equality Network welcomes the excellent work of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee, examining this issue over the past three months, and the commitment by the Scottish Government last week to legislate to put an end to this harm.

Tim Hopkins
Director, Equality Network

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