Conversion therapy comprises practices aimed at changing an individual's sexual orientation (gay conversion therapy) or gender identity (trans conversion therapy) and is widely condemned for its harm, relying on discredited methods that cause emotional trauma and mental health issues. Conversion therapy in the UK is cruel because it inflicts severe emotional and psychological harm on LGBTQ+ individuals by attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through coercion, stigma, and shame, disregarding their autonomy and well-being.
Supporting student action toward a national conversion therapy ban is crucial for the Students' Union because it extends the union's advocacy beyond campus borders to create a safer and more inclusive environment for all students across the country. By endorsing such a ban on a national level, the Students' Union not only champions the rights and well-being of its own members but also aligns itself with a broader movement for social justice and human rights. It sends a powerful message to lawmakers, policymakers, and society at large that it stands united against harmful and discriminatory practices, fostering an environment where LGBTQ+ students can thrive and feel valued, regardless of where they study within the nation.
In addition, the UCLan Students’ Union should push for the National Union of Students (NUS) to work towards a ban. Ideally, this may include campaigning for the NUS to condemn conversion practices for LGBTQ+ individuals at NUS annual conference, uniting the national student voice against the practice. University is a place for people to discover themselves and learn about the wider world, this is something we as students should promote and preserve. This sends a clear message to the LGBTQ+ community and the national public that students are ready to represent and work for the progression of human rights in the UK.
As students, it is vital that we support this cause because conversion therapy damages our community and younger people immensely. It is important not only to support this big idea but to act personally, to email your MP, reach out to charities, or organise through activism as this is an issue that will never be fixed through inaction. You can start today by signing the petition found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/640153