Voices

‘It’s not therapy it’s abuse’

Powerful new film from The & Partnership brings to life the brutal lived experience of conversion therapy in the UK

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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Conversion therapy is not therapy. It’s abuse.

This is the hard-hitting insight which sits at the heart of a new campaign from The&Partnership. The powerful short film is the result of a collective of 21 LGBTQA+ charities, coordinated by Stonewall, coming together to depict the abuse of a young trans person undergoing so-called ‘conversion therapy’. The abuse seen in the 2.5-minute-long film is currently 100% legal in the UK. 

The film advocates for the introduction of legislation for a full ban on conversion therapy that includes trans people and protects the whole LGBTQA+ community. 

In 2018, the UK Government first announced that it would introduce a ban on conversion therapy practices for gay, lesbian and bi and trans people in England and Wales. This week the government brought forward a statement indicating they will now legislate for an inclusive ban to protect all LGBTQA+ people.  

The film brings to life the various abusive methods that are used to attempt to ‘cure’ LGBTQA+ people. It serves to raise awareness of the harm that continues to be inflicted on people in the UK while the practice remains legal. 

The film, produced through Academy Films and directed by Zhang + Knight, is based on first-hand survivor testimony from the UK and depicts the horror of a young trans person being subjected to abuse, coercion, and psychological harm in the name of ‘conversion therapy’. 

 

We believe no one should be forced to change who they are and our film makes clear that ‘conversion therapy’ is not therapy, it’s abuse. We're proud of all our LGBTQA+ people, and proud to work on this campaign to promote a full ban.

Toby Allen, Executive Creative Director at The&Partnership

 

The soundtrack to the campaign is Douglas Dare’s version of ‘It’s a Sin’ by the Pet Shop Boys, who gave their permission for the track to be used for free to support the film and its ideals.  

The&Partnership and mSix&Partners, who are supporting with film distribution, worked on the project pro bono after employees raised the issue of achieving a full ban on conversion therapy as an issue which is important to them. A powerful example of the power of actively listening to employees to supercharge the impact of creativity to cut through and challenge society. 

Toby Allen, Executive Creative Director at The&Partnership explained: “At The&Partnership, we champion belonging, diversity, and inclusion as a company and across society. We believe no one should be forced to change who they are and our film makes clear that ‘conversion therapy’ is not therapy, it’s abuse. We're proud of all our LGBTQA+ people, and proud to work on this campaign to promote a full ban.”

The campaign makes a clear distinction between valid forms of therapy intended to support LGBTQA+ individuals and so-called ‘conversion therapy’ intended to cure, change, or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ has been condemned by global medical and human rights bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council and NHS England. It is already banned in Canada, New Zealand, France, Malta, Brazil, India, Uruguay, Germany, and some Australian states. 

In the UK,  YouGov study showed that more than 60% of the public support a full ban. More than twenty-five health and mental health organisations, including NHS England, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on conversion therapy. It makes it clear that conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation is unethical and potentially harmful. The Church of England General Synod voted in 2017 to reject coercive conversion therapies. 

 

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