Trans therapy ban slammed as

Vulnerable children will not get the help they need if a new attempt to ban conversion therapy is successful, say critics.

They claim the legislation would have a “chilling” impact on therapists trying to support young people who believe they have been born in the wrong body.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Burt has tabled a Private Members’ Bill proposing a UK-wide ban.

Conversion therapy seeks to suppress a person’s sexual or gender identity. In practice, it means trying to stop someone from being gay, or from identifying as a different gender to their sex recorded at birth. It can include talking therapies and prayer, but more extreme forms can include exorcism, physical violence and food deprivation.

Parents and teachers are grappling with a “social contagion” of teenagers saying they are trans, it has been warned.

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Baroness Fox raised concerns about the “potential chilling impact” of a ban on clinical therapies and religious pastoral guidance.

She said: “My main issue is that there is no evidence of a social problem of the vile conversion therapies often listed, such as the use of violence, beatings, severe bullying.”

She said existing laws would address any such behaviour, adding: “Might explaining to the young that they cannot biologically change sex, even if they feel like they are a different gender, lead to prosecution? Might those warning against the health damage caused by puberty blockers, double mastectomies and so on be classed as criminal?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dropped plans to ban conversion therapy after concerns it would lead to unintended consequences, such as counsellors and other experts being prevented from giving help to confused children.

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