Rishi Sunak facing ‘big backlash’ over trans conversion therapy ban

Rishi Sunak faces a “big backlash” if he presses ahead with a ban on trans conversion therapy which campaigners and Tory MPs say could criminalise parents, teachers and

doctors. The Government has already committed to ban therapists from pressurising gay people to be straight – a move which is entirely uncontroversial. But over the

weekend, Whitehall sources indicated that the Prime Minister wants to extend the law in order to ban the use of conversion therapy around gender transitions – where an attempt is

made to persuade children who want to change their gender that they should stay as they are. Boris Johnson rejected extending the law to cover gender identity in this way,

and – on Monday night – critics said that if Mr Sunak presses ahead, it could be used to criminalise those who question children who want to change gender. Tim Loughton, the

former children’s minister, said he was concerned doctors, teachers and parents could fall foul of any new law unless it were very carefully worded. “It certainly needs to

include some dispensation when discussing transition treatment with minors or there will be a big backlash,” he said.Teachers and parents in the dock Maya Forstater, the

co-founder of Sex Matters, said banning conversion therapy could see teachers and parents in the dock if they question a child’s desire to change gender. The group says it

means teachers could find themselves in court if they tell children they cannot use opposite-sex toilets or prevent a boy from competing in girls’ sports. And it says

parents could fall foul of the law for refusing to use the correct pronoun or for taking children abroad to avoid people pressuring them into transitioning.