UK Conversion Therapy Bill: activists now threaten individual autonomy

According to LGBT activists, an LGB individual who wishes to explore his or her options around sexual orientation, should not be allowed to do so. By having the option to enquire about conversion therapy or – heaven help us – access it, he or she is at risk of harm and the law will leave them ‘unprotected’. Got that?

Yes, folks – certain adult gay, lesbian, or bisexual folks who are fully compos mentis and in complete control of their lives and affairs, are seemingly deemed incapable of making decisions about their own lifestyle and choices.

Really? Yes. Are we to understand that activists do not consider that a fellow LGB person is truly compos mentis if he or she wishes to even consider changing their orientation? Must these unfortunate individuals be protected for their own good and prevented from any possibility of changing their lifestyle – even if they want to?

It is useful to remember at this point the strapline of the Ozanne Foundation –

We Believe in Just Love For All!

The Ozanne Foundation believes in a world where all are accepted and equally valued.
We therefore work with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender in order to celebrate the equality and diversity of all.

How does the demand that nobody should be able to access guidance, support, or assistance at their own request, fit in with celebrating ‘the equality and diversity of all’? Are some LGB folks more diverse than others, à la George Orwell?

This has all blown up following the Queen’s Speech in Parliament yesterday. The UK government is proceeding with its Bill to curtail the practice of conversion therapy in the UK. If this means banning violent, forced, frightening and unwanted ‘therapy’ on LGB folks, then I am all for it. But….the usual voices are shouting in rage again. Why?

Because the initial form of the Bill has been amended to only include a total ban on conversion therapy for minors, and has excluded the trans community altogether. So what is the problem here? Activists are unhappy because adult LGB men and women will have the right to consent to conversion therapy if they wish to.

The howls of outrage about the exclusion of the trans community are also, while expected, misguided. Joe Public is expected to swallow hook, line and sinker, the argument that conversion therapy can be ‘applied’ to gay folks and trans folks.  Why is nobody in the mainstream media asking about this failure of logic? On second thoughts, let’s shelve that question under ‘Blindingly Obvious’ and move on.

How about we think about it with our brains engaged instead of our feelings?

There is a wholesale lack of recognition among LGBT activists that the situation of gay and trans folks is not the same. Conversion therapy – whatever it is – is aimed at changing the sexual orientation or preference of individuals. Sexual orientation relates to who a person wishes to have relations and/or relationships with. For trans folks, or would-be trans folks, the situation is different. Gender dysphoria is a recognized mental health issue. It deserves proper investigation and treatment. We simply do not know enough about it yet to make sweeping decisions, especially relating to minors. And given the massive, unexplained rise in children and teens claiming they are trans, a lot of further work needs to be done to grasp what is going on in society to cause this. What is referred to by activists as ‘conversion therapy’ for would-be trans folks, relates to gender expression, not sexual orientation. These are two different concepts. According to activists, a specialist doctor trying to get to the bottom of an adult or a child’s decision to live in another gender, often with physical consequences, would be accused of applying ‘conversion therapy’.

Besides, human sexual preference is biologically-based, while gender-change is a function of social construction. Gender is not biological, it is social. And given the sheer number of so-called genders now ‘out there’, how else can it be defined? What we are seeing in the current debate is an attempt by trans-activists and others to equate sexual orientation with gender expression. This means removing the recognized mental health condition of gender dysphoria from the medical narrative, just as homosexuality has been removed. I’m not saying that homosexuality is a medical condition, just pointing out that currently, gender dysphoria is. We need more than people’s feelings to go on when we are considering these significant issues.

Further, we still have not defined what ‘conversion therapy’ is in practice. While the new UK Bill defines it as ‘any practice …. which has the predetermined purpose of attempting to change …or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity’, we have not yet identified the nitty-gritty of what such a practice involves between individuals.  

For example, we still cannot say that conversion therapy doesn’t include prayer with an individual if they have asked for it, or if a ban will affect the expression of religious beliefs. A spokesman for the Prime Minister has said that it is ‘important that the freedom to express religious teachings is not affected by the new law.’ The other areas in which the Bill will have challenging effects include practice and freedom of speech in schools, hospitals, surgeries, and so on, affecting professionals and parents. Are these people to be criminalized for their beliefs, work, or professional opinions?

Lastly, and this is a point I have talked about before, why can’t an LGB person decide that he or she wishes to explore options to change his/her sexual orientation? Would the usual suspects complain if a straight person wished to become LGB? Activists simply do not want any LGB adult to be allowed to consent to conversion therapy. Yet to deny a self-determining adult the right to consent to something legal is a fundamental breach of human rights. By refusing to allow grown adults to make their own choices for their lifestyle and future, the more strident members of the LGB community want to prevent their LGB brothers and sisters from exercising their personal autonomy as adults. Why? How come the activists suddenly have control over the lives and decisions of those LGB folks who don’t agree with them?

Are we to assume that any LGB individual who wishes to change his or her sexual orientation is incapable of making that decision? Why? What is it in that person that renders him or her unable to consent to his or her own choices? Could it be that such individuals are deemed harmful to the activists’ public narrative? Listening to a well-known gay radio presenter recently, I was horrified to hear his dismissive and offensive views on his fellow LGB folks who were interested in conversion therapy, or who had successfully gone through it. His response was that ‘they were obviously never gay in the first place’, or were ‘liars’. What?

We shouldn’t be surprised at this attitude, given that there is precedent. In early 2019, Jayne Ozanne, when trumpeting the ‘results’ of her ‘research’ completely ignored the responses of thirteen individuals who stated in the Faith and Sexuality Survey 2018 that they believed conversion therapy had worked for them. I have not found any public response to these folks or their evidence at all. Were they deemed to have not been gay in the first place, or to be stooges telling lies on behalf of the Church?

Does it then appear that being an LGB activist entitles one to curtail the human rights of other LGB folks by denying them the opportunity to consent to a legal process? Answers on the usual postcard, please.

‘Just love for all’, folks? Apparently not.

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