Warning – some may find the contents of this article and interview upsetting.
One trans woman who underwent what she describes as the “torture” of gender identity conversion therapy has spoken about her anger after the government decided not to ban the practice.
The government’s U-turn led to over one hundred groups withdrawing from the first ever international conference promoting LGBT+ rights, the “Safe To Be Me” conference. The event has now been cancelled.
Sue Pascoe, who is a trans woman and treasurer of LGBT+ charity Yorkshire MESMAC, was stunned to hear the news of the government’s U-turn.
Speaking to Yorkshire Voice, Sue said: “I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“How could this betrayal of vulnerable people happen? How could the continuation of torture happen?”
Conversion therapy attempts to change or supress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity – and can include methods such as deliverance prayer, exorcisms and sexual abuse.
The government had drawn up plans to ban conversion therapy against all members of the LGBT+ community – a move welcomed by Sue.
She added: “I was delighted to hear at first that there was going to be a ban.
I had suffered conversion practices against me, so to see the government was tackling this for everybody in the LGBT community was really first rate.”
However, a leak revealed that those plans were set to be scrapped.
After national outrage from numerous LGBT+ charities and organisations, the government reverted back to their plans banning the practice – but the ban will not cover conversion therapy aimed at transgender people.
It was this decision that prompted groups to withdraw their support for the “Safe To Be Me” conference.
Yorkshire MESMAC was one of those groups, but the decision to withdraw from the conference was not as easy as many may believe.
Sue said: “There was a lot of good in that conference – it was as much focused on the international situation, bringing countries that have the death sentence and other parts of the world up to a better place.
“To pull out as a whole community of LGBT charities and organisations was a huge decision – but we stood in solidarity and together and that is a beautiful thing.”