Ending Conversion Practices Expert Advisory Group minutes: March 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 31 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies


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


  • Christina McKelvie, Minister for Equalities and Older People
  • Janet Davis, Private Secretary
  • Rudi Paton, Scottish Government Legal Department
  • Frances Bell, Parliamentary Counsel Office
  • Max McGill, Parliamentary Counsel Office


  • Catrina Steenberg, Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government
  • Lewis Todd, Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government
  • Shumirai Mhonda-Kapora, Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government


  • Colin Macfarlane, Stonewall Scotland
  • Dr Rebecca Crowther, Equality Network

Items and actions

Key discussion points

The Minister for Equalities and Older People welcomed the Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices (the “Group”), thanked members for their time and recognised the knowledge and expertise that they were bringing to the Group.  

She reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to banning Conversion Practices (CP) and reflected on the work that lay ahead for the Group. 

[Minister left meeting at 15:18]

The Group discussed:

  • the Terms of Reference and suggested changes

Attendees held preliminary discussions on the definition of CP. The following points were made:

  • a clear definition of what constitutes CP allows the right support to be provided to those who need it
  • a definition must be wide enough to encompass different forms of CP
  • there is a risk of formulating exceptions to CP (ie, forms of conduct that do not fall under the concept of CP). If such exceptions were made part of a definition, the scope of the protection of the law unavoidably becomes more limited
  • the importance of acknowledging that some people might not view CP as changing someone but as helping – a definition should also encompass this
  • language should be deliberate and intentional and should include words like ‘attempt’, ‘suppression’, and ‘inhibit’ when describing what constitutes CP
  • a definition should not specify ‘LGBTI’ as not everyone identifies as this
  • important to acknowledge that the right wording is necessary, and the opinion was expressed that there should be a focus on the intention behind any actions which could be considered CP. Conduct which matches the definition should be banned
  • there is a risk to including a reference to the intention behind CP (as in the definition of the UN Independent Expert). It could enable CP to be undertaken for reasons other than those specifically identified
  • noted the importance of considering what is not CP e.g. attending an NHS gender clinic 
  • protections offered should go beyond CP – there should be protection against being taken out of the country for the purposes of CP
  • it was important to balance the prohibition of CP with a recognition of religious beliefs
  • the definition in the Victoria State, Australia, Prohibition of CP legislation was a good place to start
  • legislative measures should consider not just criminal law but also civil law


  • secretariat to update the Terms of Reference and email updated version to all members
  • members to inform the secretariat by 31 March 2022 if they had any issues with their membership on the Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices being publicised
  • secretariat to send to members poll to establish dates for future meetings

Equality and Inclusion Division
April 2022

Back to top