Portrait shot of Erin Lux. The square image shows Erin wearing a blue top with thin yellow stripes and glasses. She has medium length curly brown hair and smiles at the camera. There is a grey brick wall behind her.

Humanist Society interview series: Erin Lux of Equality Network on conversion practices

March 18, 2024

We’re going to be making lots of noise this year about the need to end conversion practices in Scotland. These abusive acts continue to be forced on too many of our LGBT+ citizens. To find out more, we spoke to Erin Lux, a Policy Officer at Equality Network. Erin told us about the Scottish government’s consultation on ending conversion practices, Equality Network’s fool-proof guide to responding, and more.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your work at Equality Network?


Hello! I’m Erin and I’m a Policy Officer at Equality Network. My work mostly entails research, writing, and developing policy papers and research reports. Equality Network is a leading Scottish LGBTI+ equality and human rights charity. We want to change policy and the law to improve LGBTI+ people’s lives. All of the policies we call for are informed by extensive community engagement, alongside community development to support LGBTI+ people to advocate for changes themselves.

The key distinguishing factor in conversion practices is that they target a specific person and are deliberate, intentional attempts to change or suppress that person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Erin Lux, Policy Officer at Equality Network

Conversion practices are acts undertaken with the intention of changing or suppressing another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They are based on the belief that it is wrong to be anything other than heterosexual and/or cisgender. They can take many forms, including pseudo-psychological therapies, coercive behaviour in the home, and spiritual practices such as exorcism. Conversion practices can also involve physical and sexual violence. The key distinguishing factor in conversion practices, compared with other forms of expression or disapproval, is that they target a specific person and are deliberate, intentional attempts to change or suppress that person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

What is the conversion practices consultation hoping to achieve?

The consultation was launched in January this year with the aim of shaping legislation to end conversion practices in Scotland while safeguarding freedom of expression and religion. It is open for responses until 2 April. The intention is to find out the views of the Scottish public, including faith groups, survivors of conversion practices, the LGBTQA+ community, and the wider population. Everyone’s voice should be heard, and should play a part in ending conversion practices in Scotland.

The legislation does not cover things like expressions of belief, explanations of religious teaching, or parental disapproval.

Erin Lux, Policy Officer at Equality Network

Isn’t there a danger of outlawing faith-based discussions within families and communities?

The consultation and draft legislation within it have been written very carefully. The offence of engaging in conversion practices would only apply to a course of coercive behaviour intended to suppress or change a specific person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, resulting in harm. The legislation does not cover things like expressions of belief, explanations of religious teaching, or parental disapproval. It would not include debates, discussions, or explorations of gender identity and sexual orientation. The exception is where those practices cross a threshold into causing harm through coercively attempting to change or suppress someone’s identity or orientation.

We hope that everyone who wants to see an end to conversion practices in Scotland makes their voice heard.

Erin Lux, Policy Officer at Equality Network

What should people do if they want to respond to the consultation?

The consultation can be filled in on Citizen Space, the Scottish Government’s consultation platform. Completing consultations like this can be daunting, but Equality Network has prepared a guide to the most crucial questions, so that you can contribute quickly and easily. We hope that everyone who wants to see an end to conversion practices in Scotland makes their voice heard.

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