Welcome news on conversion therapy.
Today marks an important step forward in the protection of Trans people from harm, the release of the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy. The original MoU produced in 2015 was groundbreaking as all of the leading organisations responsible for counselling, psychotherapy and psychiatry in the UK signed. They understood to not only not practice conversion therapy, but that it was unethical to offer it.
That it has taken two years for the protections to be extended to Trans people has worried us considerably. The basic agreement, laid out in the memorandum should not be controversial;
Signatory organisations agree that the practice of conversion therapy, whether in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, is unethical and potentially harmful.
The memorandum makes clear that there is no intention to prevent people exploring their feelings about their gender, nor does it mean support cannot be offered to those struggling with the idea of being Trans. It commits those signing to better training, to informing the public of the well researched dangers of conversion therapy, and to the importance of recognising the broad spectrum of genders and sexualities.. With so many Trans people reporting poor experiences of the talking therapies the commitment to better knowledge and understanding of the diversity which exists is to be applauded.
Dominic Davies, the CEO of Pink Therapy, one of the country’s leading therapy organisations specialising in gender, sexual and relationship diversity applauded the commitment to better training;
“This document has the potential to change the way therapy is delivered in the UK for future generations, as it requires therapists to be trained to work with gender and sexual diverse clients.”
Societies movement from seeing gender variance as something which needs to be cured to understanding it is part of the rich diversity of humanity means that Trans people can be their genuine and authentic selves without fear of punishment by the medical, or other professions. There is still a long way to go, we note with disappointment that the Royal College of Psychiatry has not signed the MOU 2, even though they signed the original. We believe though that today marks an important day in the move towards Trans people being full and respected members of society.
As our managing director Tara Stone says;
I’m pleased to see support for extending the MOU regarding conversion therapy to gender identity. Drawing a line under this practice should act as a catalyst in facilitating mental health professionals further development. Gender diverse clients deserve the same level of care given to cisgender clients.