Ending conversion practices in Scotland: consultation

Consultation containing detailed proposals for legislation to end conversion practices in Scotland.

Part 2: Introduction

7. In the 2022-23 Programme for Government (PfG), the Scottish Government reaffirmed its commitment to introduce a Bill on ending conversion practices in Scotland, including both sexual orientation and gender identity. The same commitment forms part of the Bute House Agreement, which details the agreement and shared policy programme between the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Green Party.

8. The UK Government committed in its 2018 LGBT Action Plan to end the practice of conversion therapy and published a consultation in October 2021. However, a Bill has not been included in the UK Government’s legislative programme for the UK 2023-2024 parliamentary session. A Private Members’ Bill, originating in the House of Lords, ‘The Conversion Therapy Prohibition (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Bill’ proposed by Baroness Burt had its first reading on 20 November 2023. The Scottish Government intends to take forward its own legislation in Scotland which will most appropriately meet the needs of the Scottish people, also taking into account the unique Scottish legal system.

Legislation refers to a law or a set of laws that have been passed by parliament.

9. The work to develop legislation in Scotland builds on the report of the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice (EHRCJ) Committee published in January 2022. This report responded to Petition PE1817: ‘Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to ban the provision or promotion of LGBT+ conversion therapy in Scotland’. The Committee heard evidence from 22 people from 21 organisations and received around 1,400 submissions. The majority of these submissions were received from individuals in support of the petition. Seventy-six submissions were received from organisations.

10. In March 2022, the Scottish Government set up an independent Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices (EAG) which was made up of LGBTQI+ organisations, faith and belief organisations, mental health professionals, legal professionals, human rights advocates, academics, and people with personal lived experience of conversion practices. The EAG’s purpose was to advise the Scottish Government on its approach to ending conversion practices. It published a report and recommendations in October 2022.

11. In this consultation document, the term “conversion practices” is used to refer to acts which are intended to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This is defined later in the document. It is not intended to reflect other common uses of the term “conversion”, for example, from one or no religion to another.

We use the term conversion practices rather than ‘conversion therapy’ throughout this consultation to reflect the variety of forms that practices can take. This also recognises that conversion practices are not a legitimate form of ‘therapy’.


Email: EndingConversionPractices@gov.scot

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