Alicia Kearns' response to Govt conversion therapy plans reveals confusion amongst activists

24, May 2022

Last month, the Westminster Government announced that they would not include transgender conversion therapy in a conversion therapy ban.

But Tory MP Alicia Kearns is far from happy. In an article published in The Times, she says that trans must be covered by a conversion therapy ban and insists that “this is not about enforcing affirmative-only therapy”.

But that is exactly what she and other LGBT activists are calling for when they advocate for a Victoria-style conversion therapy ban.

During a BBC radio podcast last year, Kearns said: “The model that’s been passed in Victoria is a good one and it includes both criminal and civil response which is really important.”

The official guidance in the Australian State of Victoria is clear: “not affirming someone’s gender identity” is conversion therapy. Click here to read it for yourself.

Kearns goes on to say: “Anyone questioning their sexuality or gender identity, deserves explorative, challenging and critical conversations with accredited and regulated individuals.”

But it is precisely the difficulty of protecting such conversations whilst introducing a ban including trans, which has caused the Westminster Government to put the brakes on this aspect.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid stressed this when he spoke about the need for open discussion about the possible causes of gender dysphoria.

But Kearns’ focus on "accredited and regulated individuals" suggests she does not trust parents to have these necessary, sensitive conversations.

She also says that “coercive prayer” should be covered by a conversion therapy ban, but what she means by this is unclear.

Leading campaigner Jayne Ozanne has gone even further and called for “gentle non-coercive prayer” to be outlawed.

So despite Kearns’ claim that this “isn't a backdoor effort to criminalise dissent from gender ideology", it is clear that if activists get their way, praying about matters of sexuality and gender identity could be criminalised.

But as QC Jason Coppel has pointed out, a conversion therapy ban that criminalises ordinary prayer “would be likely to violate Convention [European Convention on Human Rights] rights”.

Clearly there is significant confusion amongst LGBT activists about what a ban should catch.

They say they want a ban like Victoria, but insist that "this is not about enforcing affirmative-only therapy".

They say they want to ban “gentle non-coercive prayer”, while claiming that it will not cut across religious freedom.

As we have been saying all along, many LGBT activists do not understand - or do not care about - the implications of their ban for the ordinary work of churches and parenting.

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