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U.K. Government Pledges to Ban 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

Conversion Therapy

The ban is part of an initiative for "addressing the burning injustices that LGBT people face," says Prime Minister Theresa May.

The British government has released an LGBT action plan that seeks to ban conversion therapy.

The initiative, released during Pride Week in London, pledged to consider "legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy," the harmful and debunked practice of trying to turn gay, lesbian, and bisexual people straight.

"These activities are wrong, and we are not willing to let them continue," the plan stated, adding, "Our intent is [to] protect people who are vulnerable to harm or violence, whether that occurs in a medical, commercial or faith-based context."

The action plan was released in response to a 2017 survey of over 108,000 LGBT people in the United Kingdom -- the world's largest national poll of its kind. The survey found that 2 percent of respondents had undergone conversion therapy and 5 percent had been offered it.

In addition to the findings on conversion therapy, the results showed that queer British people still experienced significant discrimination, stigma, and violence. For example, 40 percent of respondents said they had experienced hate incidents with a person they did not live with in the 12 months preceding the survey. Workplace discrimination is also common -- 71 percent said they experienced a negative incident at work in the past year. In both cases, most respondents did not report these incidents because they believed no change would happen.

And in a testament to enduring stigma, two-thirds said they were afraid to hold hands with their partner for fear of a negative reaction from the public.

"No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love," said British Prime Minister Theresa May in a statement, reports CNN. "This LGBT action plan will set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society, from health and education to tackling discrimination and addressing the burning injustices that LGBT people face."

To tackle these "burning injustices," the British government has created an "LGBT Implementation Fund" of PS4.5 million, which will be used to address the findings of the survey.

Read the results of the survey and the responsive LGBT action plan here.

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