Would a ‘conversion therapy’ ban stop sex therapy?

18 May 2021

Paul Huxley, Communications Manager for Christian Concern, comments on the contradictions that a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ would introduce.

One of the many problems with a proposed ‘conversion therapy’ ban is a lack of clarity over what ‘conversion therapy’ is. But it’s not just this definition which is frustratingly vague – it’s also the basic term ‘sexual orientation’.

Is sexuality an attraction to a gender or to a sex?

The closest thing to an authoritative definition of conversion therapy is the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy (MoU). It defines conversion therapy as:

“an umbrella term for a therapeutic approach, or any model or individual viewpoint that demonstrates an assumption that any sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently preferable to any other, and which attempts to bring about a change of sexual orientation or gender identity, or seeks to suppress an individual’s expression of sexual orientation or gender identity on that basis.”

It goes on to define sexual orientation:

“For the purpose of this document, sexual orientation refers to the sexual or romantic attraction someone feels to people of the same sex, opposite sex, more than one sex, or to experience no attraction.”

This definition itself is controversial. Slogans like ‘trans women are women’ dominate much discourse. In some circles, the expectation is that a ‘straight’ or heterosexual man would be attracted to a trans woman. Similarly, a lesbian would be expected to be attracted to a trans woman, and both gay men and ‘straight’ women ought to be attracted to trans men. This is why activists claim that men who are not attracted to trans ‘women’ are transphobic.

These people believe that a sexual orientation is an attraction to a gender, not to physical, sexual characteristics. But the MoU defines orientation as an attraction to another person on the basis of their sex.

This could lead to some baffling scenarios, should a conversion therapy ban be put in place.

A man who wants to reduce his attraction to trans men, but increase his attraction to women, would be entirely free to do so. This would be seeking change in feelings towards people with the same sexual characteristics.

Whether those distinctions would hold up in front of a judge is another question, but this is a downstream effect of the mass confusion and contradictions that LGBT ideology has created ever since gender recognition certificates allowed for legal fiction.

Conversion therapy and support for married people

According to LGBT campaigners, sexual orientation is treated as if it is given at birth and never changes. This flies in the face of the evidence but is the dogma behind ‘conversion therapy’ bans.

When a man – say Phillip Schofield – is married, with children, but comes out as gay, people are quick to congratulate him for finding his true self. The narrative is that he was always gay and has finally found himself. The only alternative would be to say that he was straight but has turned gay. Although gay men in the past might joke about turning straight men gay, in an era of ‘born gay’ mantras, this would be an admission of practising conversion therapy.

As we’ve said many times before, a conversion therapy ban would stop a married man in the same position as Schofield from receiving any kind of support to stay true to his marriage vows. The expectation would be that such a man should leave his family and pursue his authentic self. Or, in some attempt to maintain a strong family for the sake of children, to continue his married life while seeking sexual relationships elsewhere.

This is cruel and unjustified. It’s a real situation that men find themselves in – particularly when, because of their faith, they are seeking to stay true to both their marriage vows and their God. The chattering classes refuse to acknowledge the many people in these situations who have benefitted from support. It would undermine the ‘born gay’ myth and with it, the house of cards that LGBT ideology rests upon.

Conversion therapy and asexuality

But another little-recognised point is the MoU’s definition of sexual orientation to include ‘no attraction’ – known as asexuality or aromanticism.

Consider a parallel situation – a woman is married to a man, with children. But she no longer has passion. She no longer experiences sexual desires towards her husband – or to anyone else. She is now, by the world’s definition, asexual.

So she was always asexual, right? She’s finding her true self, let’s celebrate! And let’s ban her from receiving help to increase her sexual attraction – that would be ‘converting’ her from asexual to heterosexual. ‘Unethical’. ‘Abhorrent’.

Therapy to ‘live more comfortably’ with their orientation

The MoU, and presumably a ‘conversion therapy’ ban does make some allowances for certain types of therapy:

“For people who are unhappy about their sexual orientation or their gender identity, there may be grounds for exploring therapeutic options to help them live more comfortably with it, reduce their distress and reach a greater degree of self-acceptance … ethical practice in these cases requires the practitioner to have adequate knowledge and understanding of gender and sexual diversity and to be free from any agenda that favours one gender identity or sexual orientation as preferable over other gender and sexual diversities.”

So, the woman in my scenario would be allowed to talk through her feelings, ‘understand themselves better’ and ‘clarify their sense of themselves’. But therapy that aims for a certain type of change, according to this definition, would be banned.

Maybe the woman in my example would, in time, come to realise she wasn’t truly asexual – that her lack of feelings was her current context. Maybe it was stress, lack of sleep or medication. Maybe those situational factors can change and the fire can be rekindled.

But if that’s the case, maybe the married man, with homosexual feelings isn’t necessarily gay, or bisexual. Maybe in understanding himself better, he will realise that those attractions are situational too. After all, if the therapist is to truly avoid any agenda that favours one orientation over another, they better not assume that the man is ‘truly’ gay. That would be ‘abhorrent’ ‘conversion therapy’.

Why are we not hearing more about this?

It is amazing to me that we are not hearing more about this. Perhaps no one really thinks this would happen, that common sense would prevail. Maybe, but it would take either a radical reversal of much of the current ideology about sex and gender or brazenly unequal treatments of different sexual orientations.

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