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British gov’t launches action plan against LGBT discrimination, to ban ‘conversion therapy’

The British government launched a 75-point action plan, and set aside almost $6 million to better handle discrimination against LGBT people. A major move from this action plan is the banning of “conversion therapy”, as well as a plan to help defend the rights of LGBT people globally.

One big move. Finally.

The British government launched a 75-point action plan, and set aside almost $6 million to better handle discrimination against LGBT people.

A major move from this action plan is the banning of “conversion therapy” — a practice that the British government called “abhorrent” and said can range from “pseudo-psychological treatments to, in extreme cases, surgical interventions and ‘corrective’ rape.”

The plan comes just as the British government released an online survey to better understand the experiences of its LGBT population.

This survey found that of 108,000 self-identified LGBT respondents, more than 70,000 have avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner in public because they fear how others will react, while 23% said people at work had reacted negatively to them being LGBT and over half of those who accessed or tried to access mental health services said they had to wait too long. On conversion therapy, 2% of the survey’s respondents said they participated in some form of it, and 5% said they had been offered it.

While the survey is not nationally representative, the number of respondents represented around one-tenth of the country’s LGBT population.

British PM Theresa May said she was “struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction.”

But according to Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall UK, these findings reflect what many LGBT people already know, that there’s still a long way to go until we reach full equality. The simple act of holding hands is something all same-sex couples do with a high degree of caution. Attitudes have changed but there are still pockets of society where we’re far from safe.”

In addition to dealing with the issues facing LGBT people in the UK, the action plan has an international element to help defend the rights of LGBT people globally. The British government promised to “deliver an international conference with governments and civil society groups focusing on how to progress LGBT equality, and to provide funding to promote LGBT equality worldwide.”

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