Time to stop “transing the gay away”

On 1 March the House of Commons will be debating a private members’ bill intended to ban “gender identity conversion practices”. An earlier bill was debated in the House of Lords on 9 February. Numerous peers expressed their deep concern about the drive to ban “gender identity conversion practices”. Some demanded to know: “How can something be banned if it cannot be defined?” Others highlighted the serious assault any such ban would represent on free speech. Despite protestations to the contrary, peers noted that it could lead to serious unintended consequences, including criminal prosecution, for parents, teachers and others seeking to help a child explore why they are convinced they are the opposite sex, or no sex at all. As Lord Forsyth said of what he described as a “dangerous piece of legislation”: “The world has gone mad”.[1]

This draft legislation is a matter of profound concern to LGB Alliance, since the evidence shows that the majority of teenagers seeking what is deceptively called “gender affirming care” are LGB – and especially lesbians. These bills represent a danger to LGB teenagers.

Time to stop “transing the gay away”

LGB Alliance was delighted that the Minister for Equalities, the Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, highlighted these concerns – concerns that we have been raising for a long time. The evidence is clear.

The vast majority of young people being put onto irreversible medical pathways are attracted to their own sex.

In 2015, the Tavistock GIDS Service revealed that 30% of male young people attending were attracted to males and 30% attracted to both males and females (i.e. 60% were homosexual or bisexual). Only 30% said they were attracted exclusively to girls.

For female attendees, over 50% were attracted to other females, 20% to both males and females (i.e. 70% were homosexual or bisexual). Only 30% were attracted exclusively to males.

Remember that the UK 2021 census says that only 3.3% of the UK population is lesbian, gay or bisexual. If there was not a problem, we would expect a similar small number of GIDS patients to be LGB. Instead, we can see that LGB people are vastly overrepresented in the young people attending gender identity clinics. GIDS has since stopped publishing any data on the sexual orientation of its patients.




The above graph from GIDS produces an even more extreme picture. Only 8.5% of girls referred to GIDS stated that they were exclusively attracted to boys.[2]

LGB Alliance has been raising this concern since we began. We believe that life is getting more difficult for young people who are attracted to their own sex. All the organisations formerly advocating for lesbian, gay and bisexual people have switched their attention almost entirely to promoting “gender identity” and endorsing the idea that people can be “born in the wrong body”. Young LGB people report overwhelming pressure to accept have sex with people of the opposite sex as potential sex partners. Same-sex groups, app users and venues are constantly threatened if they do not include the opposite sex.


Dr Natasha Prescott, a former GIDS clinician, said “there is increasing concern that gender affirmative therapy, if applied unthinkingly, is reparative therapy against gay individuals, i.e. by making them straight.” Dr Matt Bristow, a former GIDS clinician, reported that he came to feel that GIDS was performing “conversion therapy for gay kids.”

Gill, a lesbian who went through transition and then “detransitioned”, said: “The problems I had as a teenager were never quite resolved, fear and shame around my sexuality turned inward which caused psychological and body problems.”

We are in many cases literally “transing the gay away” when we should be helping young people to understand and accept their sexuality and grow up to live happy, healthy lives as lesbians, gay men or bisexuals. Gender clinics should collect and publish data about sexual orientation and ensure that young people have time to develop, to go through puberty, to become comfortable with their bodies and discover their sexual orientation. The emphasis on “gender-affirming care” proceeds from the opposite point of view, is not evidence-based and is inappropriate, as growing numbers of clinicians now recognise.[3]We need sexuality-affirming care, not gender-affirming care

For this reason, LGB Alliance is extremely concerned that all the various proposals for a ban on “gender identity conversion therapy” in Scotland and in England & Wales and in Scotland will make this situation much worse. Banning exploratory counselling and psychotherapy will condemn an entire generation of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals to a lifetime of pills and surgery while distorting or suppressing the natural functions of their bodies.

On 1 March the House of Commons will be debating another bill that seeks to ban practices that cannot be defined objectively. We greatly hope that members of parliament will display a similar understanding of the issues as was demonstrated by numerous peers from all parties on 9 February.

Legislation of this kind was introduced in Victoria, Australia. As a result, many therapists will not accept young patients presenting with “gender incongruence”. Hardly surprising since they risk incurring a heavy prison sentence. Given that an accusation of “conversion practices” cannot be disproven and can lead to a substantial prison sentence, it is easy to see why. In consequence, these young people are not receiving the evidence-based, neutral mental health care to which all distressed young people are entitled. Alarmingly, the Victoria legislation has been praised by British MPs who want a similar ban in the UK.

There are many reasons to reject these bills. In the view of LGB Alliance, they present a real threat to the health of – primarily LGB – teenagers and an unacceptable attack on free speech. Please urge your MP to protect LGB teenagers and to oppose the bill to be debated in the House of Commons on 1 March.

[1] For the extremely interesting debate in the Lords, see hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2024-02-09/debates/DB690A34-D945-4EDA-9178-DD6357498F45/ConversionTherapyProhibition (SexualOrientationAndGenderIdentity)Bill(HL); especially the speeches by Baroness Ludford, Lord Blencathra, Lord Forsyth and Baroness Foster.

[2] See cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin/article/sex-gender-and-gender-identity-a-reevaluation-of-the-evidence/76A3DC54F3BD91E8D631B93397698B1A

[3] See wsj.com/articles/trans-gender-affirming-care-transition-hormone-surgery-evidence-c1961e27.