Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price MP has challenged the Government on its proposals to ban conversion therapy and has warned that the Bill risks outlawing therapeutic care pathways for trans people.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament, Jackie said therapies are essential to establish informed consent She also argued that all interventions designed to alleviate distress should be protected under any possible legislation.
She said “My concern is the use of the term “therapy” in this space, ,,,,, We are talking about coercive and harmful practices based on an ideological opposition to being trans, gay, lesbian or bisexual, and those are the practices that we need to eradicate.
“The term “therapy” implies something that is benign and designed to alleviate distress, which is clearly not something we want to outlaw …… My plea to the Government is to re-examine that language”
She explained that whilst for some gender dysphoria is a permanent condition it is also common for people to experience gender distress as a result of trauma and during puberty. For some it is simply a phase they will go through.
She said, “We need to ensure that we are not putting people on to irreversible care pathways that will do them harm. For example, at the Tavistock, where the care pathway is based on therapy, as many as 40 per cent desist. That is why it is important that people are given the space to explore what they believe to be their gender, because it can often be about something else.
“The real issue here is the provision of hormone treatment, which is now routinely dispensed to people from the age of 16. Again, the impacts of those things are irreversible. We see a generation of trans men who have desisted and will now have a loss of sexual function, permanent facial hair and male pattern baldness.
“A more sophisticated way of allowing them to explore their gender would mean that they do not go through such things.”
In closing, she said, “We must make sure that the Bill only eradicates those harmful practices, and we must make sure that good, benign and positive therapeutic interventions will not be outlawed by the legislation.”