Mon, Jul 09, 2018 - Page 8 News List

UK to ban discredited ‘gay cure’ therapies

Theresa May promises ‘real and lasting change’ following huge nationwide survey

By Peter Walker  /  The Guardian

The survey also found 26 percent of respondents had experienced verbal harassment or other insults in the past year, with many saying they did not report even more serious incidents to the police. New measures to improve the police’s response to such incidents will be proposed.

Penny Mordaunt, the minister for women and equalities, said: “Our action plan is a step towards everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, being able to live safe, happy and healthy lives where they can be themselves without fear of discrimination.”

May is to host the annual Downing Street LGBT Pride reception on Tuesday evening. Among the guests for the first time will be Peter Tatchell. The veteran campaigner said May had invited him after he was “banned” previously.

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In a separate statement, Tatchell called the action plan a “welcome start,” but said it fell short on issues such as the deportation of LGBT refugees to countries where homophobia was widespread. The £4.5 million budget was “derisory and insulting,” he added.

Paul Martin, the chief executive of the LGBT Foundation, said his organization had worked with the Equalities Office on the survey and he was “delighted that the government has listened.”

The study and announcement are separate to government plans to amend the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, making the process by which transgender people can change their legal gender easier. A consultation on this is to begin soon.

Mordaunt said she had been struck by the survey showing how poorly served transgender people in Britain were by existing systems and legislation, saying the government would examine how to best speed up and demedicalise the process of changing gender.

She said the launch of the consultation was not a delaying tactic. “We want to make it less bureaucratic, more supportive and less intrusive,” she said.

Asked if there should be less emphasis on medical intervention, Mordaunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I think that is absolutely right, we already require people to live in their new gender for two years, that is causing all kinds of difficulty and anxiety for people who may have two sets of identity documents... which causes huge problems accessing public services,” she said.

Mordaunt said she would also listen to the concerns of some women who have expressed fears that simplifying the process of changing gender could lead to the abuse of female-only spaces, such as domestic violence refuges.

“What we are not going to do is unpick the Equalities Act ,which protects women-only spaces like refuges for example, we are not going to unpick those safeguards,” Mordaunt said.

“Those women raising those concerns are legitimate concerns that we need to address at the end of the consultation but equally legitimate are the concerns of individuals changing their gender and at the moment are having to make all kinds of strategies to do simple things like use the bathroom or go to the gym. We have to look at this and have a sensible conversation.”

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