Dr Ilias Trispiotis gives oral evidence on the Government's proposed legislation against 'conversion therapy' in the UK

Dr Ilias Trispiotis was invited by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee to give oral evidence on the Government's proposed legislation against conversion therapy in the UK.

‘Conversion therapy' refers to the practice of using treatment or psychotherapy to try and change a person's sexuality or gender identity, based on the assumption that being bisexual, lesbian, gay or trans is a 'curable' mental illness. According to the charity Stonewall, '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’.

The Committee solicited Dr Trispiotis' expert opinion on the compatibility of the proposed ban on conversion therapy with human rights law, and especially with the right to freedom of religion or belief. Dr Trispiotis was also asked to expand on the legal definition of conversion therapy, the available scientific evidence on its harmfulness, and the possibility of informed consent to this practice.

Since 2019, Dr Trispiotis has been leading the only legal research project in the UK on the legal responses to conversion therapy. He has co-authored (with Dr Craig Purshouse) two peer-reviewed articles on the subject, which are published in leading generalist law journals in the UK (one of which, published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, has been nominated for the SLSA Best Article Prize 2021). Dr Trispiotis has also been invited to give oral evidence at the UK Parliament and the New Zealand Parliament as well as advising MPs, major NGOs and charities. He has been a member of the Ban Conversion Therapy Legal Forum; and he has contributed to the highly influential Cooper Report. His research on conversion therapy has been funded by Research England and his edited collection (with Dr Purshouse) entitled 'Banning "Conversion Therapy"' is forthcoming with Hart Bloomsbury Publishing in 2023.

“It was a real privilege to give evidence to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee. My research has led me to the conclusion that all forms of so-called 'conversion therapy' are in violation of the prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment under UK and International human rights law. As a result, the UK Government has to ban those practices in an absolute way, leaving no room for any exemptions” said Dr Trispiotis.

Watch the recording on Parliament TV of the Women and Equalities Committee meeting on Wednesday 24 November 2021. (Dr Trispiotis is introduced at 15.23.45).