Unite delegate Phil Jones, who is also chair of Unite’s national LGBT+ committee, gave an impassioned speech on Tuesday (September 28) in support of motion calling for an immediate ban on ‘conversion therapy’.
“So-called gay conversion therapy has no scientific or therapeutic support whatsoever,” he told conference. “It is about suppressing a person’s sexuality or gender identity.”
“All too often it leads to mental and emotional damage,” he added. “It is about attempting to exorcise an integral part of who a person is. It seeks to invalidate a persons identity and reinforces homophobia. It doesn’t work and is inherently abusive.”
Phil highlighted how the government had promised to ban the practice, but he noted that the ban has now simply been turned into a consultation on banning it.
“And that consultation we learn this week has been delayed,” he said. “Johnson is trying to kick this into the long grass and we must not let him.
“And let’s not forget this government has form,” Phil continued. “It took three years to complete the consultation on the GRA and what did that result in – no change”.
“Comrades you cannot cure me – I am not ill,” he went on to say. “I need no therapy. As a wise person once said ‘heterosexuality is not normal – it’s just common’.”
He urged delegates that we cannot let “religious bigots on the right tell me I am in need of a cure; tell me my identity is invalid; or tell me I should feel shame.”
“Because,” Phil concluded to applause, “I don’t need a cure; I am not in-valid; and I am not ashamed.”
By Hajera Blagg
Pic by Mark Thomas