Watch: UK PM Boris Johnson Vows to Ban 'Conversion Therapy'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday July 20, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK is still committed to banning the pseudoscientific practice of so-called "conversion therapy," a quack "cure" for homosexuality that claims to turn gays straight, reports UK newspaper The Independent.

Said Johnson:

"On the gay conversion therapy thing, I think that's absolutely abhorrent. It has no place in civilized society. It has no place in this country."

Johnson said that before any action was taken, however, the British government would need to do "a study" on the practice.

The British government has been sending signals that it would ban "conversion therapy" since 2018, but little progress had been made since then, prompting a group of British lawmakers to band together and press for the matter to be addressed.

Earlier this year, Kemi Badenoch, the "equalities minister," told the press that banning the practice is "a very complex issue." Badenoch claimed that those complexities have stymied the government and led to a lack of action.

Such complexities have not stopped twenty American states from banning "conversion therapy" on minors.

Sky News posted a video clip at Twitter of Johnson's comments, in which he also addressed proposed reforms of the "Gender Recognition Act." Advocates have been pressing for the Act, first passed in 2005, that would make it easier for transgender British people to gain legal recognition of their gender identity.

Human Rights Watch notes that the current version of the Act only allows for legal recognition with a doctor's diagnosis of "gender dysphoria" and proof that the person in question has been living as a member of their identified gender for at least two years.

Watch the Sky News video clip of Johnson's comments below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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