Conversion practice ban should be moment of unity for all parties

Conversion practices have no place in a modern or progressive Scotland.

The proposed bill to ban conversion practice should be a welcome moment of unity for Scotland’s political parties, say the Scottish Greens.

All MSPs were elected on manifestos that included a commitment to banning conversion practices - acts that intend to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Scottish party manifesto commitments - 2021

Scottish Greens: “Ban so-called “conversion therapy”, which refers to unethical and unnecessary interventions that seek to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT+ people or alter a person’s sex characteristics without their consent.” [P83]
SNP: “There is no place for conversion therapy in Scotland. Such practices are discriminatory and harmful to the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTI people. The UK Government made a commitment to ban conversion therapy in their LGBT Action Plan, and we fully support this, as we know making a ban fully comprehensive will involve action in reserved areas. However, if the UK Government does not take action, we will bring forward our own legislation insofar as is possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.” [P33]
Scottish Conservatives: “We would work with the UK Government to end conversion therapy in Scotland and ensure frontline responders are trained to support victims of hate crime.” [P53]
Scottish Liberal Democrats: “End the harmful practice of sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy in the next parliamentary session, working with the UK Government where necessary.” [P48]
Scottish Labour: “We will legislate to end the cruel practice of conversion therapy.” [P97].

The consultation, which opened two weeks ago, is a key step towards delivering a ban and a central pledge of the cooperation agreement that first brought the Scottish Greens into government.

The party’s equalities spokesperson, Maggie Chapman MSP, said: “Conversion practices are wrong, and a ban is long overdue. It is impossible to change somebody’s sexuality or gender identity, and these practices have no place in modern Scotland.

“Since the consultation was launched we have seen many people responding in good faith, but, regrettably, we have also seen some MSPs and parts of the media peddling misinformation or resorting to the kind of smears and tropes that we would have hoped to see the back of a long time ago.

“This should be a moment of consensus. Across the chamber, every single one of us was elected on a promise to introduce a ban on conversion practices, and that is what we must deliver.”

The consultation has also been welcomed by people with lived experience of conversion practices. Blair Anderson, a Scottish Green councillor, went through this cruel practice and has been a key part of the campaign that saw every party commit to a ban.

Cllr Anderson said: “I experienced so-called conversion therapy, and there was nothing remotely therapeutic about it. It was abuse. It should not have happened to me and I want a future where it is not allowed to happen to anyone else.

“Every MSP was elected on that basis. It’s a betrayal of some of the most vulnerable people in the country that some are now going back on their word and throwing LGBTQ+ people under the bus to stoke the culture war and win a few cheap votes.

“The rights of LGBTQ+ people must not be used as a political football. Our MSPs have the opportunity to take a key step for equality and help to tackle some of the pain and prejudice that has caused some much harm and hurt.”

Ban Conversion Practices

A library of previous articles, video and comment from the Scottish Greens on ending conversion practices

Link To Consultation

The consultation ends on April 2.

Support and Advice 

Help and advice for people impacted by conversion practices is available at

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