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RCGP steps up fight against conversion therapy

The RCGP has released a joint statement with a host of UK organisations condemning therapy which aims to change sexual orientation, so-called conversion therapy.

The statement makes clear that the practice is ‘unethical and harmful’ and ‘has no place in the modern world’.

This follows a legislative ban against conversion therapy in Malta and draft legislation in Taiwan to do the same.

Signatories of the statement also include the UK Council for Psychotherapy, The British Psychological Society and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well as GLADD (The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists), Pink Therapy, Stonewall, NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP chair, said: ‘The Royal College of General Practitioners is proud to support this statement. As medical professionals, we are highly trained to treat our patients regardless of their sexual orientation – not because of it.

‘Being gay or trans is not a disease, it is not a mental illness and it doesn’t need a cure. Any proclamations to the contrary risk causing harm to our gay and trans patients’ physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as perpetuating discrimination in society.’

This follows work by these groups over the last few years against conversion therapy, including the production of a memorandum of understanding against the practice.

The full statement reads:

‘We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.

‘Conversion Therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.

‘Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses. Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.’

Supported by:

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

The British Psychoanalytic Council

The British Psychological Society

The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists

GLADD – The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists

The National Counselling Society

National Health Service Scotland

Pink Therapy

The Royal College of General Practitioners

The Scottish Government


The UK Council for Psychotherapy