A large crowd at Pride Scotia 2014: lots of balloons and a Nae Nazis sign are visible.

End Conversion Practices

We support the right of LGBT+ people in Scotland to live the life they choose, free from coercive and abusive practices aimed at changing or suppressing their sexual orientation or gender identity.

End conversion practices

Conversion practices, often called “conversion therapy,” are interventions that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They remain legal in Scotland, and are often undertaken in religious settings, although the vast majority of religious people do not support conversion practices.

We support a new law aimed at ending conversion practices in Scotland. We also support non-legal measures such as supporting survivors of conversion practices, allowing people to report abuse, and educating young people on the dangers of conversion practices.

We are working with our allies at Equality Network and others to bring about this outcome. We are also in ongoing discussion with the Scottish government about the legislative and civil measures required to end conversion practices in Scotland.

The problem

Conversion practices are acts which deliberately try to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They are based on the belief that it is better to heterosexual and/or cisgender, and that other sexual orientations and gender identities are somehow flawed, wrong or ‘broken.’

The UK-wide National LGBT Survey 2018 found that 7% of LGBT+ people had been offered or undergone conversion practices. This figure was twice as high for trans respondents. Conversion practices remain one of the most harmful expressions of anti-LGBT sentiment,  yet there is no legal mechanism for preventing these abhorrent practices in Scotland.

There is also inadequate support and signposting available for those who are subjected to conversion practices or are recovering from the effects of conversion therapy. And there is inadequate education available to young people on the dangers of conversion therapy.

The solution

We need to end all conversion practices in Scotland. The law must prevent coercive practices directed at specific people with the predetermined aim of suppressing, changing, or ‘curing’ their sexual orientation or gender identity.

There can be no opt-outs for organisations or individuals claiming the right to ‘religious freedom’. Nor can the law be amended due to pressure from activists opposed to full equal rights for trans and non-binary people. Such groups often attempt to present conversion practices targeted at these communities as more valid or in the ‘best interests’ of the victim.

We also need to advocate for a strong package of civil measures  that support survivors of conversion practices, allow them to report abuse, and educate people, particularly young people, on the dangers of conversion practices

Our campaign

We are campaigning for comprehensive legislation aimed at ending conversion practices in Scotland, without exceptions or opt-outs. This is part of the wider campaign to criminalise conversion practices across the UK. We are also advocating for non-legal mechanisms to put a stop to conversion practices rather than pushing them underground.

We are working with our allies at Equality Network and elsewhere to achieve our aims within Scotland and continue to support UK-wide efforts to end these abusive practices. We are communicating with the Scottish government to ensure legislative proposals to end conversion practices are robust and far-reaching.

Cover photo credit: Stephen Yu/Creative Commons

Take action – support our campaign!

Respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on ending conversion practices in Scotland by 2 April 2024.

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