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People of Faith Supporting an End to Conversion Practices

Scottish Government Consultation

Thank you to everyone who responded to the Scottish Government consultation on ending conversion practices. The consultation has now closed. The next step is that the Scottish Government will analyse the consultation responses and publish a report, as well as continuing to develop their policy on this. We hope that they will then speedily bring forward legislation in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Government was consulting the public on a proposed new law aiming to end conversion practices in Scotland – the deadline for responding to the consultation was Tuesday April 2nd 2024. See below for more information on how you can respond.

There is a specific question in the consultation about the impact of the proposals on religion and belief equality, Question 32. It would be great if people of faith could respond to as much of the consultation as possible, including to that question.

If you only have a few minutes, don’t worry – on this page we outline how to do a short and effective consultation response. If you have a bit more time and would like to submit a more detailed response, you can see our guide on a longer response here.

If you found your way here through our flyer, and would like to download it, print it, and share it with others, please do!

What are Conversion Practices?

Conversion practices are acts which deliberately try to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They are based on the belief that it is better to heterosexual and/or not trans, and that other sexual orientations and gender identities (LGBTQA+ people) are somehow flawed, wrong or “broken”.

You can read more about what conversion practices are here.

This consultation is a way for the Scottish Government to hear the opinions of organisations and individuals on their proposed legislation against conversion practices, and to find out if people support the general idea of the law, as well as views on the proposed details of how it would work.

How to Respond to the Consultation

If you don’t have much time to respond to the consultation we’ve outlined below what we think are the most important questions and how we’re going to respond to them.

Your response can be as short or as detailed as you want, and you can save your response and come back to it later if you need to. It’s best to put your answers in your own words and share your own opinions and experiences so the Scottish Government can here a wide variety of perspectives.

First, open the consultation page here.

The questions which make up the consultation are spread across several different pages, which give short explanations for the proposals that the Scottish Government would like your opinion on.

On the page “Defining conversion practices for this legislation”, we’re answering

  • “Yes” to Question 1
  • Because: Conversion practices are harmful – let’s protect all LGBTQA+ people with a trans and asexual inclusive ban that covers sexual orientation and gender identity.

On the page “Suppression”, we’re answering

  • “It should be covered” to Question 3
  • Because: We should all be able to live freely as our true selves, no matter who we are or who we love. Making someone suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity can be just as harmful as trying to make them change it. No LGBTQA+ person should be forced to keep who they are buried or out of sight. Suppression must be included in the law.

On the page “Overview of proposals”, we’re answering

  • “Support” to Question 5
  • Because: It is better to protect from harm in the first place than to punish people after they have done harm. We want the criminal law to be a last resort. That’s why we support the proposed civil protection orders.

On the page “Criminal offences – additional considerations”, we’re answering

  • “Yes” to Question 17
  • Because: Conversion practices are done to LGBTQA+ people on the belief that we are wrong or need to be “fixed”. They don’t work, can cause lifelong harm and people are often pressured into them. There should be no loophole allowing conversion practices that have ‘consented’ to.

Religion and belief

On the page “Impact assessments” Question 32 allows you to say something about the impact on religion and belief. We think that the proposed law will have no adverse impact on faith and religion. It will not stop people preaching or expressing their faith; it will simply stop harmful coercion of other people.

On the page “About you”, you have to fill in all the required fields. Your email address will be kept confidential, and if you select “Publish response only (without name)” or “Do not publish response”, your name will also be kept confidential.

That’s it! We think these are the most important questions, but if you have the time to answer more then please go ahead, just make sure you click “Finish” at the bottom of the main page when you’re done. (The Finish button only appears after you have filled in the required “About you” information)

If you’d like to give a fuller response to the consultation, you can also see our more detailed guide here, and you can read the full 85 page Scottish Government consultation document here.

Support for Survivors

Thinking about your response to this consultation may be stressful, and particularly traumatic if you are a survivor of conversion practice attempts.

If you are experiencing conversion practices now, have done in the past, or are worried you may you can get help and support here: https://www.lgbthealth.org.uk/services-support/conversion-practices/

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