Anneliese Dodds, Member of Parliament for Oxford East and Chairwoman of the Labour Party, has made a resolute commitment to implementing a comprehensive, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy if the Labour Party comes into power in the next general election. Speaking at the National Women’s Conference in Liverpool, Dodds firmly stated that her party would fill the void left by the Conservative government’s unfulfilled promises on this critical issue.
Conversion therapy, a practice aimed at altering an individual’s sexuality or gender identity, has been widely criticized and likened to torture by a UN expert. The current Conservative government initially pledged to draft legislation banning conversion therapy in 2018, which included provisions for trans people. However, Stonewall, a leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, has cautioned that such legislation must have no “loopholes or carve-outs.”
Stonewall’s concern arose after then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed course in March 2022, first shelving plans for a legislative ban and then proceeding with one that protected only LGB individuals. Furthermore, the Tories had previously proposed a ban that would have allowed “consenting” adults to undergo conversion therapy under the guise of “professional help and guidance,” sparking outrage among activists. Recently, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the shelving of the conversion therapy ban altogether, citing concerns about similar laws’ effectiveness in other countries.
During her speech, Dodds also addressed the pressing issue of rising anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in England and Wales. She emphasized the Labour Party’s commitment to combating inequality and ensuring that everyone is accepted without exception and treated with respect and dignity. The Home Office’s 2022-2023 statistics revealed an 11 percent increase in transphobic hate crimes, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue.
Dodds did not shy away from criticizing her political opponents, particularly Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, for making derogatory jokes about trans individuals and their rights. She emphasized the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, including rising hate crime rates and a government that often treats their lives and rights as political pawns. As the 2023 Labour Party Conference unfolds in Liverpool, Dodds’ strong stance on LGBTQ+ rights and conversion therapy signifies the party’s unwavering commitment to equality and inclusivity.