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British lawmaker to introduce bill to ban conversion therapy in the U.K.

Monday, October 21, 2013
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LONDON — A British parliamentarian from Wales has announced plans to introduce legislation that would ban licensed therapists from performing controversial gay-to-straight reparative therapy in the United Kingdom.

The proposal is part of a larger measure to regulate personal mental health counselors and psychotherapists.

Geraint Davies

Geraint Davies

Gay conversion therapy, as the practice is also known, is alleged to assist LGBT people in overcoming same-sex attraction. But mainstream psychologists say the therapy is ineffective, unethical and often harmful, exacerbating anxiety and self-hatred among those treated for what is not deemed by a majority of mental health professionals as a mental disorder.

Geraint Davies, a Labour Party MP, wants to make it illegal for mental health therapists to use the controversial practice LGBT individuals — both adults and minors — by imposing stricter guidelines for therapists.

“At the moment anyone can set themselves up as a counselor or psychotherapist without training or experience with no recourse for the patient if something goes wrong,” said Davies.

“In Britain there are more than 50,000 counselors or psychotherapists registered with private organizations which have no uniform code of conduct or ethics. Alongside unregistered psychotherapists they all able to provide ‘therapy’ to millions of people, often with mental health problems, who are vulnerable and at risk,” he said.

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“It’s time to regulate the counselor or psychotherapist industry and to protect people from possible abuse and my motion has already the support of dozens of MPs from all the political parties,” added Davies.

One political observer in London told LGBTQ Nation on Monday that the measure has bipartisan support and 53 members of parliament have signed off on the bill.

Similar measures aimed at LGBT youth have been passed in the United States in New Jersey and California.

Measures are also pending in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

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