LGBT+ survivors of 'conversion therapy' help advise Welsh Government on banning practices
Survivors of 'conversion therapy' are among those helping to advise the Welsh Government on banning the practices in Wales.
The group of experts will see people from faith communities, health and social care sector and children and young people, alongside the LGBT+ community.
It comes as the UK government is set to announce a new law banning the practice.
ITV News understands that the ban - due to be announced this week - will outlaw attempts to change a person’s sexuality and also attempts to change someone’s gender identity.
Members from the group in Wales include Jayne Ozanne, who underwent almost 20 years of conversion practices, which resulted in her being hospitalised twice.
She now works towards full inclusivity for LGBT+ people of faith campaigns for a full ban on the practice. She described 'conversion therapy' as "abhorrent, harmful and abusive".
Jayne explained: “We know this happens in many churches and religious groups across the world. Wales is no exception. It is abhorrent, harmful and abusive, Sadly, it is a trauma that stays with you for life as it gets at the absolute core of who you are and how you love.
“Including trans and non-binary people in a ban is critical as the level of physical abuse and verbal abuse against the trans and non-binary community is so severe. It is particularly crucial we work to protect young people from across the LGBTQ+ community because the mental outcomes are so horrific.
“If you’re traumatised at a relatively young age over something as fundamental as your core identity, then that can go on to impact your education prospects, your career prospects, your sense of confidence and your ability to love and be loved, which means lifelong affirming relationships are often badly compromised.”
The Welsh Government and NHS Wales have signed up to a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy in 2022, which means they will not commission or provide 'conversion therapy' in Wales.
Ian Green is the current Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust and another member of the new expert group. Ian explained: “As someone who as a young man experienced LGBT conversion therapy, I know how important it is that this abhorrent practice is banned. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans is not something that needs to be changed or cured.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the Welsh Government’s working group on conversion practices and playing an active role in helping to see a ban implemented in Wales.”
The Welsh Government recently sought legal advice to establish what powers devolution covers and what additional powers are needed to ban the practice in its entirety.
Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn, said: “Recent Census data revealed there are LGBTQ+ people living and participating in every part of Wales, which further emphasises our commitment to ensure every corner of our country is a safe place to live openly and authentically.
“Conversion practices are abhorrent, and we are committed to banning it to help protect everyone in our LGBTQ+ communities.
“Members of our working group bring a wealth of experience, and, in some cases, first-hand experience of the sheer upset and utter harm conversion practices can cause. The combined knowledge of the members will be invaluable as we work to ban this frankly evil practice.”
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