Derry & Strabane reps call for ban on ‘cruel and unethical’ so-called gay ‘conversion’ therapy

Derry & Strabane Councillors have called for Ministers to continue to work together to ban so-called gay conversion therapies as they pledged their support for the local LGBT+ community.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 11:01 am
A previous Foyle Pride Festival parade makes it's way down Shipquay Street. DER3519-117KM

Derry City & Strabane District Council members spoke out about discrimination against the LGBT+ community in support a Notice of Motion brought by Alliance Councillor Rachael Ferguson.

Colr. Ferguson’s motion sought to highlight and promote the continued support, counselling and advocacy that local groups provide to members of the LGBT+ Community.

During a discussion on the matter, members called on the Minister for Communities to continue to work with the Departments of Health and Justice to introduce an effective ban on conversion therapy within Northern Ireland.

Colr. Ferguson said: “Our LGBT+ community have been let down time and time again by our government. Same sex marriage has thankfully been introduced in January 2020 and it was a pleasure to be able to see two of my close friends finally be recognised as wives, but there still is an undertone of stigma in some communities and I see it in our young people.

“Some who struggle to come out in fear of rejection - rejection because of their beliefs and that being gay can be cured. Conversion therapy is a cruel practice and it has been proven not to work.

“Westminster has committed to a four year plan to end the practice and NHS England has stated that there is no evidence to support the practice and has deemed it unethical.”

DUP Alderman Ryan McCready thanked Colr. Ferguson for tabling the Motion adding: “I think any discrimination against anyone, whether in the past or today on basis of their sexual orientation is just wrong. We are all equal and should be treated as such.”

Most Councillors spoke out in favour of the motion which passed with two abstentions.

Speaking afterwards Colr. Ferguson said: “I wanted this to pass to show that our Council fully believes that no one should feel ashamed of their sexual orientation and that the practice of gay conversion therapy can only been seen as a cruel and unethical.”

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter