RCGP backs fight against conversion therapy

The RCGP has united with other UK health groups to decry conversion therapy for gay and trans individuals as unethical and harmful, warning that the practice 'has no place in the modern world'.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes Lampard
RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes Lampard

The letter was inspired by ‘concerns regarding the future of conversion therapy’ in the US.

It follows Malta banning the practice and Taiwan drafting legislation to do so, and was ‘published in solidarity with like-minded healthcare organisations in the USA’.

It states: ‘We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.

‘Conversion therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.

Unethical and harmful

‘Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses.

'Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.’

In addition to RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the letter is also signed by the British Psychoanalytic Council, the British Psychological Society, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Professor Stokes-Lampard said: ‘The RCGP is proud to support this statement. As medical professionals, we are highly trained to treat our patients regardless of their sexual orientation – not because of it.

‘Being gay or trans is not a disease, it is not a mental illness and it doesn’t need a cure. Any proclamations to the contrary risk causing harm to our gay and trans patients’ physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as perpetuating discrimination in society.’

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