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Persuading under 16s to change gender will soon become illegal
29 October 2021, 15:52
Persuading a child to change gender will become illegal under new government proposals.
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The legislation set to come into force next spring and will make it illegal for adults to convince children to change their gender.
The new law will impact charities offering counselling and advice to children with gender dysphoria but doctors and psychiatrists will be exempt.
Family and friends giving informal advice will also be exempt.
The proposals will cover attempts to change a person from being attracted to the same-sex to being attracted to the opposite-sex, or from not being transgender to being transgender, and vice-versa.
The consultation document reads: "The Government is determined to ensure that no person is put on a clinical pathway that is not right for them, and that young people are supported in exploring their identity without being encouraged towards one particular path."
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This is particularly the case for young people where this may result in an "irreversible decision", it adds.
The new offence will be punishable by imprisonment of up to five years.
Talking about the proposal, minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, said: "There should be no place for the abhorrent practice of coercive conversion therapy in our society.
"Today, we are publishing detailed proposals that will stop appalling conversion therapies and make sure LGBT people can live their lives free from the threat of harm or abuse.
"As we build back better from the pandemic, I want everyone to be able to love who they want and be themselves. "Today's announcement sets out how we will ban an archaic practice that has no place in modern life."
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Under the proposals, those found guilty of conversion therapy offences would have any profit obtained seized.
The Government also plans to introduce civil measures such as Conversion Therapy Protection Orders, which could include removing the passports of potential victims at risk of being taken overseas.
And it will explore ways to prevent the promotion of conversion therapies, including online.
Whilst conversion therapy will be banned for children, the UK government said it will not ban the practice for consenting adults.