Ending Conversion Practices Expert Advisory Group minutes: 28 July 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 28 July 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Blair Anderson, Lived Experience
  • Pritpal Bhullar, Sarbat LGBT+ Sikhs
  • Nick Bland, Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government (chair)
  • Very Reverend Dr Susan Brown, Church of Scotland
  • Dr Rebecca Crowther, Equality Network
  • Richy Edwards, Lived Experience
  • Colin Macfarlane, Stonewall Scotland
  • Dr Igi Moon, The Coalition for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Against Conversion Therapy
  • Dr Amber Keenan, NHS Grampian
  • Florence Oulds, Scottish Trans
  • Luis Felipe Yanes, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Hannah Winter, Lived Experience
  • Dr Mhairi Crawford, LGBT Youth Scotland
  • Reverend Elder Maxwell Reay, Metropolitan church, Augustine’s Edinburgh

Scottish Government

  • Tara Lyle, Scottish Government
  • Lara Cook, Scottish Government


  • Jenny Kemp, Scottish Government
  • Lewis Todd, Scottish Government
  • Chloe Coldwell, Scottish Government


  • Reverend Jide Macauley, House of Rainbow
  • Dr Paul Behrens, University of Edinburgh

Items and actions

Welcome and general updates

Reminder that previous minutes have now been published.

Key discussion points

Presentation on LGBT+ People of Colour and Minority Ethnic Faith Experiences of Conversion Practices.

Pritpal Bhullar and Dr Rebecca Crowther gave an overview of their research and engagement with stakeholders on this topic and presented five main themes of their findings:

Suppression, cultural coercion and consent. Within this theme, discussions centred around key ideas of loss of parts of identity such as family, faith and community; clearly defined gender expectations; self-policing and long-term impact of conversion practices on people of colour and from minority ethnic faith backgrounds.

Reconciliation of sexual orientation, gender identity and religious identity. Stakeholders had reported that family and religious life were often indistinguishable; a heightening of minority stress; and external and internal pressure leading to feelings of shame or low self-esteem.

Diverse practices and family: Honour, dishonour, abuse and shame. The link between family and community honour and abuse was discussed, including survivor experience of violence, threat of violence and internalised concern not to bring dishonour. Stakeholders also reported many different forms of conversion practices and the importance of broad reach with religious organisations to address these practices. The idea of honour/dishonour as well as language and cultural barriers may prevent people from reporting these practices.

Institutional racism and underrepresentation in policy development. Stakeholders highlighted the importance of engaging with ethnic minorities when developing policy and drafting legislation and advised policymakers to be aware of the effects of institutional racism, particularly around criminal law provisions. They also suggested creating a possibility for anonymised reporting to address concerns about criminalising communities.  

The need for culturally competent support and capacity building. Within this theme, the discussion covered the need for service providers to fully understand diversity and the importance of culturally competent local services that consider intersectional vulnerabilities.

During the Q&A the following points were raised:

The role of support through the NHS for people who have undergone conversion practices and the importance of having staff from diverse backgrounds.

The need to engage with a broader cross-section within communities, rather than solely engaging with leaders.

The link between community, family and faith groups and the risk that those undergoing conversion practices may lose all of these, particularly in rural and island areas.

Engaging with minorities when developing policy and law also benefits wider groups.

Draft recommendations

The draft recommendations related to this topic were discussed and the following points were raised:

Both positive and negative lessons could be learned from past legislative processes on topics such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Some suggested wording changes.

Developing the civil scheme in consultation with survivors and some of the potential difficulties around this.

Avoiding a feeling of criminalisation among minority ethnic communities.

The need to better define the concept of a “civil scheme” and to further discuss those actors who could be involved in regulating non-legislative measures.

That it would be useful to include examples of what was sought to be achieved in relation to the more complex recommendations.

Next meeting focus

The next meeting on 11 August would focus on healthcare and victim support, civil schemes and definitions.

The final meeting to be 23 August as a hybrid meeting, in person in St Andrew’s House and online.

Officials who worked on the legislation in Victoria had been invited to engage with the group at the next meeting.

There would be a sub-group meeting with survivors on 2 August.

Any other business

The group discussed what the dissemination of the recommendations and report would look like, in terms of media engagement or a launch event. The group felt it was important to disseminate this work widely.

The group is to formally end at the end of August as per the Terms of Reference and officials are considering the process for finalising the report as well as opportunities for further engagement as part of the policy and Bill development process.


  • Officials to consider the format and process for the publication of the report and its recommendations as well as timescales for this
  • Officials to circulate agenda for the next meeting
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