Within one week of despatching a letter to the Minister for Women and Equalities the Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, the LRA received the following reponse to our letter to Kemi Badenoch MP from the Minister of Equalties Stuart Andrew MP. Mr Andrew is also the Minister of State for Prisons and Probation :
Lesbian Rights Alliance
Email at: email@example.com
Our reference: MC2023/01155
7 February 2023
Thank you for your email of 31 January, regarding the Government’s proposals to ban conversion practices. I am replying as Minister for Equalities. I apologise for the delay in responding to you, whilst the Government considered the next steps.
Please be reassured that the Government is committed to those at risk of this practice from harm. We will be publishing a draft Bill to ban conversion practices which will go through pre-legislative scrutiny this parliamentary session.
As you may be aware, the Government consulted the public for views on its proposals to ban conversion practices. Since then, we have been analysing and considering the responses and developing draft legislative measures informed by these.
We are clear that the legislation should not, through a lack of clarity, harm the growing number of children and young adults experiencing gender related distress, including those who may seek medical treatment. Great care is needed when legislating in this space.
Against this backdrop, and as set out in the consultation, legitimate talking therapies are essential especially for young people, as is the importance of parents being able to have appropriate and sometimes challenging conversations with their children. We are clear that the legislation must not inadvertently criminalise or have a ‘chilling’ effect on such therapy or conversations.
We also recognise that we will need input from Parliamentarians and stakeholders, particularly LGBT people, clinicians and parents. We therefore intend to publish a draft Bill to facilitate this, recognising that some of these issues are not fully resolved.
Undertaking pre-legislative scrutiny on this legislation will ensure that the final legislation does not cause unintended consequences, is robust and receives appropriate scrutiny. It will ensure the Bill is designed in such a way as to provide strong protections whilst ensuring faith leaders, parents, teachers or counsellors continue to be able to have exploratory conversations with people about their sexual orientation, sex or gender identity.
The freedom to express the teachings of any religion, as well as everyday religious practice, will not be affected by the ban.
We intend to publish an independent analysis of responses received alongside a full Government response, before introducing a Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny.
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for writing on this important matter.
Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP
Minister for Equalities