Beginning of the End of ‘Conversion Therapy’, Introduction of Worrying Civic Infringements

Flowers with notes placed along them reading "how many more?" "i won't cheer up, love. not when life for women and fellow queers is that short!" "the police don't make us safe"
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Today Her Majesty announced in the State Opening of Parliament that the Government aims to end the barbaric act of so-called ‘conversion therapy’. This is good and welcome news for all LGBT people, especially our LGBT youth who should be protected from this practice with a meaningful, legislative ban. However, it is troubling that, three years after former Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to introduce such a ban, the Government is dragging its feet with yet another consultation period. It is right and proper that different opinions are heard on many things, but we cannot stall on the path to ending conversion practices just to hear from abuse apologists.

Whilst it remains to be seen how the ban will work in practice, this announcement in the Queen’s Speech is a good first step in acknowledging some of the harm done by conversion practices. We look forward to future generations of LGBT people enjoying freedom from being compelled or coerced into trying to alter or suppress their sexuality or gender identity. Through our youth work service, we see first hand how young trans people thrive when they’re not made to feel alone, when it’s made sure they know that nothing about their identity needs to be “cured”. We await to see what will be introduced by way of support for survivors of conversion practices, and what future steps Holyrood and Stormont take by way of a ban.


Photo ID for Votes

One worrying aspect of the Queen’s Speech is the Government’s plans to introduce an unnecessary and as-of-now unworkable system of mandatory photo ID for voting. In places where this has been trialled, hundreds of eligible voters have been turned away from the polling station. The mooted plans will disenfranchise minority groups — including, overwhelmingly, communities of colour and gender diverse people — unless radical action is taken to stop them. We know that trans people are less likely than their cis (non-trans) counterparts to be in paid work and so are going to be less likely to be able to afford photo ID if it is not provided free of charge by either local authority or central government. We also know that through virtue of transitioning, many people will not appear as they do on their photo ID, and may be turned away from the polling place. The plans to enforce a roll-out of photo ID for voting concerns Gendered Intelligence as a civil society organisation, and as one working with and for trans people in particular. It is not reasonable to expect all polling staff and volunteers to be suitably and swiftly clued up around nuances of trans identities, of divergent physical appearances; the risk of trans would-be voters being turned away is simply too high.

The plans to bring about mass photo ID by stealth is a solution looking for a problem that does not exist and can be seen as a genuinely worrying existential threat to democracy.


#KillTheBill

The Queen’s Speech also highlights the Government’s plan to bring into place the ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021’ despite widespread dissent, rallying and protest against it. The Bill is likely to make meaningful public protest and assembly impossible in England and Wales if it is made law, by allowing the criminalisation of any activity the police deem to be a “public nuisance”. Indeed, a person convicted under this bill could be jailed for up to ten years for causing “serious annoyance or inconvenience”, which could be something as banal as making noise outside a complaining business premises. With anti-gender, anti-LGBT, racist, xenophobic and fascist ideologies on the rise across the UK and Europe, we need to be able to continue public protest and counter-protest.

We will not go silent into that good night, and we can not allow our young people to enter a future where legal protest is a relic of the past.

By genderedintelligence

Gendered Intelligence is a trans-led charity based in the U.K. Our object is to: - Deliver arts programmers and creative workshops to trans youth (under the age of 25) from across the UK in order to increase the quality of young trans people’s life experiences. - Deliver facilitated workshops to all young people within schools, colleges, youth groups and other settings from across the UK, in order to generate discussion and debate around gender and the ways in which it presents challenges in our everyday lives. - Offer Continuing Professional Development, trans awareness training, policy development and consultation as well as attend conferences and events to raise awareness of young trans people’s experiences and needs across the UK and beyond. - To contribute to the creation of community cohesion across the whole of the trans community throughout the UK by bringing trans people and professional services together to form partnerships and run projects that will benefit the trans community. To understand more about our organisation, please visit our website at http://genderedintelligence.co.uk!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: