We are pleased the government has decided to abandon its plans to include ‘gender identity’ in its proposed conversion therapy bill. At Safe Schools Alliance we hear daily from parents, teachers and other professionals involved in the education and wellbeing of children who are concerned about this: they feel that the concept of “gender identity” has become an emotive and highly-charged topic which makes it very difficult to talk about in a way that centres the child’s best interests. We know that parents and teachers have been desperately worried that the conversion therapy bill would criminalise professionals who offered clinical and emotional support and therapy to distressed children.
At Safe Schools Alliance UK our focus is always on the safeguarding of children, and we did not feel the proposed Conversion Therapy Bill had the wellbeing of children at its heart. We have always been clear that affirmation is not a neutral act, and this belief has been backed up by the Cass Interim Report which recognises that professionals are under pressure to simply affirm those children who self-identify as transgender. The interim report states that this is “at odds with the standard process of clinical assessment and diagnosis that they have been trained to undertake in all other clinical encounters.”
We call upon the government to invest in support for all children who are experiencing distress in line with recommendations from the Cass Review. We would like to thank all of our supporters who wrote to their MPs and submitted responses to the consultation on gender identity conversion therapy.