Two different records to date concerning Bills to Ban Conversion Therapy/Therapies (UK, and Republic of Ireland) – representation on specific actions made to the UK Government (addressed to the NI Secretary of State, and associated ministers) by the LGBT+ Network for Change, further to revelations brought to our attention:
Both the UK and the Republic of Ireland have for the past five years independently but in parallel been responding to the need to remedy the de-facto abusive, grave mental health harm and attempted and successful suicide attempts and suicide of LGBTQ+ victims of so-called conversion ‘therapy/therapies.’ Proscribing the latter in law, making such practices illegal/criminal, and their practitioners subject to criminal proceedings in the courts, has to date met with very different responses in the two countries — the Republic of Ireland, and the UK, with part of the latter, Northern Ireland (Six Counties Ulster) being a part of the island of Ireland and as such subject to at the very least the spirit of the Belfast ‘Good Friday’ Agreement.
In the Republic of Ireland it has been found that the cross/all parties unambiguous and heartfelt backing for a robust, effective at meaningful relief from the cruel and abusive phenomena that conversion ‘therapies’ comprise of, level, that the Government led Bill to Ban Conversion Therapies enjoys clear, enthusiastic and unmitigated support.
In the UK, the picture is sadly very different. Government leadership on the Bill in the UK that was committed to has been and continues to be at best desultory and beset with issues that indicate less than full commitment to the humane goal of victims of conversion therapies support and protection.
It also lacks, it appears the same degree and level of cross/all parties support of earnest, focused kind (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jun/30/lgbtq-labour-thatcher-section-28) that exists in the Republic of Ireland. This is depressing from a UK LGBT+ community and LGBT+ & LGBTQ+ community perspective where this crucial matter of banning conversion ‘therapies’ in an effective meaningful form – wont of focus/seriousness leaves the latter in a continuing position of completely unacceptable powerlessness and vulnerability to religious intolerant ‘conservative’ de-facto anti-LGBT/LGBTQ+ community harming position.
The UK ‘religious’ in the UK and from the UK global outreach entities — including foremost the NI/Belfast-based Core Issues Trust – position of very effective support from the current UK Government administration is all too well exemplified in a Core Issues Trust website page excerpt below:
Excerpt: ‘ … How can banks be allowed to take the role of political campaigners as has been the case with Barclays Bank? Hopefully this is something Andrew Griffith, appointed to investigate the activity of banks closing accounts, will look into. We can be thankful for former Business Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s intervention seeking an amendment to the Digits Market Bill to “prevent banks from blacklisting customers who hold controversial views” … Strength to his arm!’ Source: https://core-issues.org/core-issues-trust-vs-barclays-account-closure/
Of course in this matter UK banks, and in this case Barclays Bank in particular, are simply and diligently following the spirit and letter of the Equality Act 2010 (which both Core Issues Trust and its de-facto revealed support in the current UK Government ‘Conservative & Unionist Party’ administration evidences), as well of course a principle of basic decency and equity where non-heterosexual and non-cisgender minors, youth, and young adults subject to parental/family/closed-religious social groups of extreme intolerant of LGBT identities kind are concerned.
Such activity constitutes de-facto abusive of positions of daily life control kind situations that have no place in the UK, and especially so in regard to following the wholesome and human rights for All spirit of the Equality Act 2010.
The LGBT+ Network for Change has been more concerned about the fact that in light of UK taxpayers funding by the UK Government/FCDO – ‘UK Direct Aid’ for an influential ‘conservative’/religious platform in Uganda, UK Charity Commission (Northern Ireland section) across many years very controversial Equality Act 2010 spirit beaching support for NI based ‘Core Issues Trust’ interventions against in NI, but with international [including in Africa] activities de-facto promoting anti-LGBT hate, that the UK itself is being presented at global level as a country that presents in word LGBT human rights and SAFETY, but in reality at practical level has been revealed to be actively anti-LGBT.
We have provided representations to ministerial (Africa Minister) and Cabinet Office (NI Secretary of State, and associated Equality Minister responsible for overseeing implementation of the UK bill to ban conversion therapy), and highest level relevant UK Government departmental officials (Permanent Under Secretary of the FCDO), on these matters in the recent days, weeks, and months.
Here we wish to record our position on the UK government (both current Conservative administration, and still more importantly UK Government relevant international [FCDO] departmental actual record) on the international implications of such a record. Foremost of these being harm/disruption being caused to the Republic of Ireland’s very different positive in spirit and focus ‘all political parties’ proactive approach to bringing in a robust, practical on the ground implemented Government bill to ban conversion therapies, and the de-facto revealed current UK Government and UK government departmental (FCDO, with relevant BHC country sections) record in Africa.
In these two directions, as the relevant UK Government Cabinet and ministerial level office holders, and executive-level departmental level officials are aware the LGBT+ Network for Change has been and is taking the necessary actions at formal communications level.
The opportunity to transform the current situation by UK Government dialogue with the Government of Ireland in this shared area of both countries – one ‘Brexited’ from the EU, and the other an EU member state, provides enormous opportunities for mature political level liaison and collaboration between Dublin and London/Belfast. The LGBT+ Network for Change position is that the UK under the spirit as well as the letter of the Common Travel Area (CTA) and also the spirit and the bilateral government to government mechanisms of the All-Ireland Belfast ‘Good Friday’ Agreement should be honoured in spirit AND especially in deed/practice in this matter of pan-British Isles [Republic of Ireland and UK] sharing of LGBT+ & LGBTQ+ UK and Republic of Ireland significance, and indeed of broader UK with EU post-Brexit significance.
The position of the LGBT+ Network for Change on the current/present harming of bills to ban conversion therapies being finalised, and/or considered proactively or less than proactively on both sides of the Irish Sea, is that in the case of the very advanced work by the government of the Republic of Ireland in this area through it’s own Bill in this area, that the UK Government per se has obligations to support mitigation action regarding the situation of conversion therapies hubs such as the Core Issues Trust international impacts (especially in the Republic of Ireland, and in the Global South [especially in Africa]). This said, on evidence of Core Issues Trust itself, active intervention of a clearly in the Conservative & Unionist Party UK Government administration senior [non-ministerial] very influential member of the said Party’s Christian/Religious Right, taken sides against victims of conversion therapies abuses of minors/youth/young adults in less than free, unhealthy controlled personal circumstances: please see excerpt above from https://core-issues.org/core-issues-trust-vs-barclays-account-closure/