Ending Conversion Practices Expert Advisory Group

Overview

We recognise the need to end conversion practices in Scotland. They are harmful, discriminatory, and have no place in our society.

The commitment to introduce legislation to ban conversion practices that is as comprehensive as possible within Scotland’s devolved powers by the end of 2023 forms part of the 2021-2022 Programme for Government and the Bute House Agreement. 

The Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices met for the first time in March 2022, following the announcement in Parliament of its establishment by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government in November 2021.

The Group will look carefully at the issues and advise on ways to end conversion practices that try to change a person’s sexuality orientation or gender identity, while ensuring that freedoms – including freedoms of speech, religion, and belief – are safeguarded.

The Group is time-limited and its output will be evidence-based recommendations – legislative and non-legislative – to Scottish ministers to inform the Scottish Government’s approach to ending conversion practices. These will be delivered during the Summer following the final meeting of the Group. 

Remit

The Expert Advisory Group’s remit includes: 

  • recommend what practices should be prohibited, or trigger other legal interventions, and considering a definition of conversion practices
  • drawing together existing data and evidence on conversion practices, including international practice
  • advising on potential actions to end conversion practices
  • advising on support for victims and survivors
  • advising on aligning any ban with commitments to protect freedom of expression and freedom of religion, in line with existing legislation
  • advising on non-legislative measures which should be brought forward to protect and support victims
  • advising on how mental health services, religious bodies, services for children and young people, (including education), and other professionals should be supported to provide appropriate services to people seeking help and advice in relation to their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • carrying out other tasks that may reasonably be required

Members

The membership of the Expert Advisory Group includes individuals who are experts in their field from LGBTI organisations, faith and belief organisations and communities, mental health, the law, human rights, academia, and people with personal lived experience of conversion practices.  

  • Blair Anderson, lived experience
  • Dr Paul Behrens, University of Edinburgh
  • Pritpal Bhullar, Sarbat LGBT+ Sikhs
  • Very Reverend Dr Susan Brown, Church of Scotland
  • Dr Mhairi Crawford, LGBT Youth Scotland
  • Dr Rebecca Crowther, Equality Network
  • Richy Edwards, lived experience 
  • Dr Amber Keenan, NHS Grampian
  • Reverend Jide Macaulay, House of Rainbow
  • Colin Macfarlane, Stonewall Scotland
  • Reverend Elder Maxwell Reay, Metropolitan Community Church
  • Dr Igi Moon, MoU Coalition Against Conversion Therapy
  • Florence Oulds, Scottish Trans
  • Hannah Winter, lived experience
  • Luis Felipe Yanes, Scottish Human Rights Commission

The Group is chaired by Nick Bland, Deputy Director of the Equality and Inclusion Division at the Scottish Government. Secretariat is provided by the Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government. 

Documents

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