Gay conversion therapy – going the way of the lobotomy?

Surgeons preparing to perform a lobotomy, 1941
Surgeons preparing to perform a lobotomy, once thought to be a promising procedure (1941).

50 years ago, the sight of surgeons preparing to perform a lobotomy would not be uncommon. 17,000 Britons were lobotomised for various reasons – including homosexuality. Despite huge step forwards in LGBT rights in the UK, gay conversion therapies are still on offer. On November 3rd, MPs will debate whether to send these therapies the way of the lobotomy.

Gay conversion therapies, according to their supporters: “might be able, with help and support, to achieve some degree of change in orientation.” However, medical professionals and LGBT activists say that there is no evidence for the therapies.

The debate has been called by Conservative Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green. In a piece on Politics Home, he said: “The practice of ‘conversion’ therapy has no place in our society, no place in our health care system or in our schools. Ban it”

Mr Freer is well-known for his campaigning on same-sex issues, and revealed he was gay to his fellow MPs whilst debating same-sex marriage.

The debate is scheduled for 4pm in Westminster Hall. While the debate will not cause a change in the law, Mr Freer hopes that event will spur politicians into future action.


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