What you can do

Conversion Therapy


No one should be told their identity is something that can be cured.

Yet many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are being poorly treated by health and social care services, including by staff who believe that sexual orientation or gender identity is something that can be ‘cured’.

In fact, our Unhealthy Attitudes (2015) report found that 10 per cent of health and care staff have witnessed colleagues expressing the belief that lesbian, gay and bi people can be ‘cured’ of their sexual orientation.

On the basis of this and wider evidence, we are calling for central government to publicly condemn this practice and take further steps to ensure the practice is unavailable.

We are also calling for health and social care leaders and regulators to communicate a clear message to psychotherapists and counsellors that trying to ‘cure’ lesbian, gay, bi and trans people is both harmful and dangerous.

What is ‘conversion therapy’ or ‘cure’ therapy?

Conversion therapy (or ‘cure’ therapy or reparative therapy) refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to reduce or stop same-sex attraction or to suppress a person's gender identity. It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. These therapies are both unethical and harmful.

In the UK, all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies, as well as the NHS, have concluded that conversion therapy is dangerous and have condemned it by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF). We are working to make sure that this covers gender identity too.  

How often does it happen?

Evidence suggests that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people continue to experience these harmful therapies.

Our Unhealthy Attitudes research found that one in 10 health and social care staff have witnessed colleagues express the belief that sexual orientation can be ‘cured’, which rises to 1 in 5 among health and care staff in London.

A 2009 survey of over 1,300 accredited mental health professionals found that more than 200 had offered some form of conversion therapy, with 35 per cent of patients referred to them for treatment by GPs and 40 per cent treated inside an NHS practice.

What can I do?

No-one should be told their identity is something that can be ‘cured’. Yet many LGBT people have experienced unhealthy attitudes from health and social care staff including hearing that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is something that can be ‘cured’.

Have you experienced ‘cure’ therapy or ‘conversion therapy’? We‘d like to hear about your experiences so that we can stop this practice in the UK.

We will share your story with stakeholders and policy makers so that they understand the effects of this practice on individuals. We may also ask you to be a case study for the media, but we will always seek your permission before doing this.

Where to get help

For further information please contact Stonewall’s Information Service on 08000 502020, email info@stonewall.org.uk or fill out our form.