We pride ourselves on our equalities record - so lets go further and end conversion therapy
SNP candidates across the country have been urged by young activists to support a campaign calling for an end to conversion therapy in Scotland.
In a letter to the SNP’s 133 Holyrood candidates the party’s youth wing, Young Scots for Independence (YSI), have asked them to pledge their support to the campaign and, if elected, legislate to end the practice which has been described by the organisations Equalities Officer as ‘archaic’.
So far 52 of the SNP’s 129 Holyrood candidates have signed the pledge according to campaign group End Conversion Therapy Scotland.
Their call comes after a debate in the House of Commons on Monday which saw campaigners accuse the UK Government of ‘dragging its feet’ on banning the practice in England and Wales, with three advisors resigning from their position over the lack of meaningful progress.
The letter to candidates celebrates the positive work carried out by the SNP in creating a more equal society but appeals to the party to do more, saying: ‘Under SNP Governments we have seen world-leading progress towards creating a fairer, more equal society. From passing historic equal marriage law to the introduction of LGBTQ+ inclusive education, we have made a real positive difference to people’s lives. However, if we are to continue to hold ourselves up as a beacon of progressive politics we must recognise that there is much more to be done.’
Research by Stonewall UK found that one in twenty LGBTQ+ people have been pressured into conversion therapy; nine percent of whom were between the ages of 18 and 24. This number rises for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are Black, Asian or minority ethnic, and members who have a disability.
Commenting on the campaign, the YSI’s National Equalities Officer, Lauren Oxley, said:
“There’s consensus in the medical and scientific community that not only does this practice not work, but it can have detrimental long term effects on victims' mental and physical health.
“We see all too often the results of conversion therapy in the US where many young LGBTQ+ people lose their lives to the pressure and discrimination they face. Scotland is a more progressive and forward-thinking country but it doesn’t mean these practices don’t exist here too. If we want to continue to make strides towards the equal nation we all want to see, we cannot afford to be blind to the realities of conversion therapy.
“We’re a progressive party that prides itself on our commitment and record on equality - it’s for this reason that every one of our candidates should be in support of ending this archaic and torturous practice which feeds on the vulnerability and doubt many young LGBTQ+ feel.”