The government plans to ban controversial “gay conversion therapies” as part of a wider proposal to improve the lives of gay and transgender people in the UK.
The proposal comes as part of a 75-point plan that has been produced in response to a survey of the LGBT community that found that more than two-thirds of LGBT people avoided holding hands in public for fear of negative reactions. The survey of 108,000 people also found that 5% of the community have been offered conversion therapy, with 2% admitting to taking such courses.
The LGBT Action Plan was produced at a cost of £4.5m and covers points to address issues that range from transphobic bullying at school to police reactions to anti-LGBT crime.
Prime Minister Theresa May commented:
“We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT people.
“I was struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction. No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love.
“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.”
Commenting on the action plan, Ruth Hunt, CEO of the charity Stonewall, welcomed the policies as a “first step” but added that “society still treats LGBT people like second-class citizens” and that there were still “pockets of society” where the LGBT community was “far from safe”.