Conversion Therapies Bill

Sir, – I was heartened to read the article "Bill to ban conversion therapy poses problems for therapists" (Opinion & Analysis, August 9th).

From the onset of puberty, and well into my 20s, I rejected my female body and saw myself as “neutral” or sexless – similar to those who now call themselves “non-binary”. Thankfully, I was not affirmed in the belief that my body was all wrong.

Living in Germany at the time, I had access to exploratory psychotherapy and was given the chance, the time and the safe space to defuse and mend the underlying trauma. I reconnected with my body and realised that I was bisexual.

I am afraid for young people today who are in similar torment, looking for answers – and being instantly confirmed in their desperate, lonely conclusion that the deep discomfort they feel begins and ends with them.


It is astonishing how many parents, teachers, health professionals and carers appear happy to abdicate their erstwhile duty as responsible adults once they hear the magic words “gender identity”.

None of the developmental and environmental factors that are known to influence human actions, personalities and morbidities are allowed to matter anymore. Gender declarations, practically non-existent up until 10 years ago, suddenly override everything else. How did this happen, and why?

Adult trans activists keep telling us that gender identity is fluid and should be freely explored.

They also tell us that a person’s gender identity is an innate personal fixture that must never be questioned and justifies invasive body modification and experimental hormone treatment on demand; the latter even for toddlers and teenagers who simply don’t conform to regressive boy/girl stereotypes. The logic in these contradictory statements escapes me.

Our rainbow umbrella organisations need to stop appropriating the term conversion therapy. It specifically refers to sexual orientation and has nothing to do with gender dysphoria, which describes a person’s feeling of profound discomfort with their natal sex. Nobody “grows out of” being gay or lesbian.

But even GIDS, the UK’s Gender Identity Development Service, on its website points at over 10 peer-reviewed studies that show 86 per cent of young people with gender dysphoria will not identify as trans after puberty; many of them turn out to be gay, unless their natural development is interrupted by so-called puberty blockers: drugs that are used for the chemical castration of sex offenders and were only ever licensed for the short-term treatment of serious conditions like prostate cancer.

Dr David Bell, former staff governor of Tavistock, the UK gender clinic that also dealt with Irish referrals, warned in a Channel 4 documentary that “Children have been very seriously damaged” by the affirmation-only approach.

A gay clinician there resigned due to concerns that some parents appeared overly happy to “trans the gay away”.

Dr Bell told the Scottish parliament in July 2020: “We need to bear in mind that a substantial percentage of these children, if left without intervention, will desist and emerge as gay and lesbian (there is evidence to support this)”.

In light of that, whose interest does it serve to push the belief that taking no experimental medicines, having no invasive surgeries, and learning to love the only authentic body you will ever inhabit is “conversion therapy”? – Yours, etc,