More than 370 religious leaders from around the world are calling for a ban on so-called ‘conversion’ therapy - the attempt to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The signatories to the declaration represent all the world's major faiths and many are known LGBT+ advocates. They include South African cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen.
A declaration calling for a ban will be launched at a conference sponsored by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on Wednesday.
The Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, and Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland, are also among those who have signed the declaration.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeated a promise to ban conversion therapy, saying in July that the practice was “absolutely abhorrent” and “has no place in this country”.
The government has yet to publish details of the ban but said it had commissioned research and would outline its plans “in due course”.
Since 2018, two UK prime ministers have promised to ban “conversion therapy” but campaigners are still waiting for action.
One of the potential hold-ups concerns the definition of the term “conversion therapy” and how it relates to all LGBT+ people. While government figures have shown that trans people undergo conversion therapy at the highest rate of any LGBT+ group, some campaigners fear that any government changes could exclude conversion therapy based on gender identity and only focus on sexuality.
The term “conversion therapy” refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person's sexual orientation or to suppress a person's gender identity. It can range from electric shock treatment to religious teachings or talking therapies designed to change someone's sexuality.
The practice is already outlawed in Switzerland and areas of Australia, Canada and the US.
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