Conversion Therapy: Defending Basic Rights

Feb 6, 2022 | Articles, Issue 1142

by Sean Gabb
[email protected]

Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

So far as I understand it, conversion therapy is the attempt, by prayer, by nagging, and by playing with mental associations, to change sexual tastes. It is mostly tried by male Christians who are disturbed by their inclinations. For what it may be worth, my opinion is that, unless they involve non-consensual violence, sexual tastes are trivial things, and no one with an atom of sense would ever wish to change them. I also suspect that attempts at change are generally inadvisable. But, if inadvisable—indeed, even if positively dangerous—there is no reason for the law to be involved in the matter. So long as there is neither force nor fraud, what adults do to themselves, or procure for themselves, or offer to other consenting adults, should be their business alone.

The British Government does not agree, and has announced that it will introduce a comprehensive ban on conversion therapy. It seems to have given in to the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which has been frantically campaigning for a ban since before I began receiving its spam e-mails. The Government will ban the practice, and is asking for suggestions on how comprehensive the ban should be.

I could write at length on the scandalous spectacle that Peter Tatchell has made of himself. Here is a man who spent the earlier part of his life denouncing persecution, and is now, far into his decline of life, outdoing Mary Whitehouse herself in his attack on freedom of conscience and freedom of speech and freedom of association. I could do this, only his friends have made it dangerous or even illegal to speak harshly of him and them. Besides, there is no need of commentary when the facts speak so well for themselves.

But here is my submission to the Government’s “Equality Hub.” I have edited this to remove some of the Government’s verbiage, but here are the words I submitted for consideration. My words are in italics. Given that the matter was decided last year by brain-dead “Conservative” ministers looking to endear themselves to people who will never vote for them, I doubt if seventy or eighty million objections would have any force. But the consultation has been extended to the 4th February 2022, and it will do no harm if others were to express their disapproval. Here is the link.

Sean Gabb

Response ID XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-X
Submitted to Banning conversion therapy
Submitted on 2022-02-01 00:44:15

Views on banning conversion therapy

Do you agree or disagree that the Government should intervene to end conversion therapy in principle?

Strongly disagree

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

Unless there is fraud or force as traditionally defined, what consenting adults do or have done to themselves is their business alone. Anyone who chooses conversion therapy may or may not get what he wants from it. But I doubt if anyone is forced to choose it. I doubt if there is any shortage of information about its nature or likely effects. The proposed law is a breach of human rights.

Targeting physical conversion therapy

To what extent do you support, or not support, the Government’s proposal for addressing physical acts of conversion therapy?

Strongly not support

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

Unless there is fraud or force as traditionally defined, what consenting adults do or have done to themselves is their business alone. Anyone who chooses conversion therapy may or may not get what he wants from it. But I doubt if anyone is forced to choose it. I doubt if there is any shortage of information about its nature or likely effects. The proposed law is a breach of human rights.

Targeting talking conversion therapy

The Government considers that delivering talking therapy with the intention of changing a person’s sexual orientation or changing them from being transgender or to being transgender either to someone who is under 18, or to someone who is 18 or over and who has not consented or lacks the capacity to do so should be considered a criminal offence. The consultation document describes proposals to introduce new criminal law that will capture this. How far do you agree or disagree with this?

Strongly disagree

How far do you agree or disagree with the penalties being proposed?

Strongly disagree

Do you think that these proposals miss anything?

Yes

If yes, can you tell us what you think we have missed?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

The rights to freedom of speech and association and personal bodily autonomy. If an adult consents to any act of conversion therapy, that is as much his right as his right to engage in all-male sex or to take recreational drugs.

Restricting the promotion of conversion therapy

The Government considers that Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code already provides measures against the broadcast and promotion of conversion therapy. How far do you agree or disagree with this?

Prefer not to say

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

I prefer not to say because there is no room given for me to say that Ofcom is an illegitimate body that should be abolished without delay. There should be a complete free market in broadcasting, in which broadcasters offer whatever they please to adult viewers and listeners who choose for themselves.

Do you know of any examples of broadcasting that you consider to be endorsing or promoting conversion therapy?

No

If yes, can you tell us what these examples are?

Please write in:

The Government considers that the existing codes set out by the Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practice already prohibits the advertisement of conversion therapy. How far do you agree or disagree with this?

Prefer not to say

Do you know of any examples of advertisements that you consider to be endorsing or promoting conversion therapy?

No

If yes, can you tell us what these examples are?

Please write in:

The Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practice are also illegitimate bodies that should be abolished for the reasons given above.

Protecting people from conversion therapy overseas

The consultation document describes proposals to introduce conversion therapy protection orders to tackle a gap in provision for victims of the practice. To what extent do you agree or disagree that there is a gap in the provision for victims of conversion therapy?

Prefer not to say

To what extent do you agree or disagree with our proposals for addressing this gap we have identified?

Strongly disagree

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

Because it is not the business of the State to tell people what to do with their own bodies and minds and how they should interact with other persons for the purpose of achieving what they want with their own bodies and minds. If adults want conversion therapy, let them find it and decide for themselves.

Ensuring charities do not support conversion therapy

Charity trustees are the people who are responsible for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run. The consultation document describes proposals whereby anyone found guilty of carrying out conversion therapy will have the case against them for being disqualified from serving as a trustee at any charity strengthened. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this approach?

Strongly disagree

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

It is not the business of the State to tell people what consensual acts they can and cannot advocate.

Recognition by authorities of conversion therapy as a problem

To what extent do you agree or disagree that the following organisations are providing adequate action against people who might already be carrying out conversion therapy?

Services action against people carrying out CT—Police: Neither agree or disagree

Services action against people carrying out CT—Crown Prosecution Service: Neither agree or disagree

Services action against people carrying out CT—OTHER statutory service: Neither agree or disagree

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

It is not the business of the authorities to interfere in the choices that adults make with regard to their own bodies and minds, or to interfere with those who offer to assist in those choices. To let the authorities interfere is despotism.

To what extent do you agree or disagree that the following organisations are providing adequate support for victims of conversion therapy?

Services support for victims of CT—Police: Neither agree or disagree

Services support for victims of CT—Crown Prosecution Service: Neither agree or disagree

Services support for victims of CT—OTHER statutory service: Neither agree or disagree

Why do you think this?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

The only legitimate business of the law enforcement agencies in a free country is to suppress force and fraud. There should be no legal interest in any act of conversion therapy that does not involve force or fraud as they are defined in the traditional laws of this country.

Do you think that these services can do more to support victims of conversion therapy?

No

If yes, what more do you think they could do?

Please explain the reasons for your answer:

So long as they have not been forced or defrauded, there are no victims of conversion therapy.

Confidentiality

Would you like your response to be treated as confidential?

No

 

© 2022, seangabb. Reprinted from The webiste of Sean Gabb

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