Social Democratic and Labour Party representative Conor Houston has said that the delay in bringing forward proposals to end the cruel practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is putting young LGBT+ people at risk.
The Strangford representative said that the Communities Minister should come forward with proposals following the successful move to introduce a ban in Canada which is effective from this week.
Conor Houston said:
“The failure to introduce an effective ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is devastating for LGBT+ young people who are put at risk by those preying on their vulnerability.
“The Assembly voted almost a year ago for the Communities Minister to bring forward robust legislation before the end of this mandate. It is clear that the Minister will now miss the deadline set by MLAs and more young people will be put at risk as a result.
“I understand the practical difficulties in securing an agreement on the definition of conversion practices but the hard truth is that a perfect definition is impossible to find. The Minister should instead look to Canada where new legislation will become effective this week that bans this insidious practice and protects their rainbow community. Similar legislation is currently being pursued in New Zealand.
“This is an issue that should be dealt with quickly by Stormont. For LGBT+ young people in turmoil and trauma it is quite literally a matter of life and death. We need to see progress on this, not more empty promises.”