Boris Johnson Says the U.K. Will Ban Conversion Therapy

"It has no place in civilized society. It has no place in this country."

The U.K. will ban gay conversion therapy, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Speaking to reporters this Monday, July 20, Johnson—a controversial Conservative Party leader whose past is littered with homophobic remarks—said “the gay conversion therapy thing” is “absolutely abhorrent.”

“It has no place in civilized society,” he added. “It has no place in this country. What we’re going to do is a study on where is this actually happening, how prevalent is it. We will then bring forward plans to ban it.”

LGBTQ advocates across the pond have been putting pressure on U.K. parliament to ban conversion therapy. As Vice reported earlier this month, Ban Conversion Therapy, a British activist group, sent an open letter to U.K. Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss urging her to outlaw the debunked practice. The government previously pledged to ban it all the way back in 2018.

The letter was signed by numerous LGBTQ and allied public figures, including Dustin Lance Black, Stephen Fry, Munroe Bergdorf, and Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix.

Although LGBTQ advocates and medical experts alike have long denounced conversion therapy for its lasting and potentially deadly psychological harm, the practice is still technically legal across the pond. In the U.S., only 19 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws on the books restricting or barring conversion therapy. Internationally, it was most recently banned in May, when German lawmakers passed legislation barring the practice for LGBTQ minors nationwide.

As recently as July 8, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, a Costa Rican lawyer and the United Nations’ independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, called on the international group to ban the practice worldwide.

“[Connversion therapy] practices constitute an egregious violation of rights to bodily autonomy, health, and free expression of one’s sexual orientation and gender identity,” Madrigal-Borloz told the UN’s Human Rights Council at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

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