Our LGBT Co-ordinator Colin Appleby writes about a new campaign to make it a criminal offence to offer 'Conversion Therapy' in the UK.
1 the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
No one should be told their identity is something that can be cured.
And yet many LGBT people are told by health and social services professionals that their sexuality can be 'cured'.
We're supporting a campaign spearheaded by Naz and Matt Foundation, a charity set up in 2014 following the sad loss of Matt’s fiancé Naz, who took his own life two days after his deeply religious family confronted him about his sexuality.
A 2015 Stonewall study, Unhealthy Attitudes, found that one in 10 health and social care staff has witnessed colleagues express the belief that sexual orientation can be 'cured' - which rises to one in 5 among health and care staff in London.
So-called 'Gay Conversion Therapy' includes a variety of harsh psychological, and sometimes physical, treatments - which may include electric shocks to the body that are triggered when the subject is shown sexual images of people of the same sex.
People who have undergone Conversion Therapy are almost nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, and nearly six times more likely to experience depression than someone who has not undergone the therapy.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHS England signed an agreement two years ago which described the practice as "harmful and unethical". Yet it still remains legal in the UK.
As long as this practice is legal, we allow parents to believe their LGBT children are somehow wrong and can be 'cured'.
We are not an illness. We cannot be cured.
UPDATE: We are delighted to welcome Matt from the Naz and Matt Foundation as a guest speaker at our All-Member Meeting on Tuesday 25th April.