LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop and cosmetics company Lush recently teamed up to share the stories of survivors of conversion ‘therapy’ and urge people to write to their MP to call for an immediate and inclusive ban on all of these practices.
Savera UK believes in the majority of cases conversion ‘therapy’ or practices are forms of ‘honour’-based abuse – ‘punishments’ or ‘cures’ inflicted on an individual whose sexuality or gender identity is against the cultural, social or religious ‘norms’ of a family or community. ALL of these practices, without exclusion, are abuse and a violation of human rights.
The powerful animation for the ‘Have a Heart’ campaign launched ahead of Valentine’s Day and told the stories of survivors Joe, Alex and Grace. The video highlights many elements of conversion practices that correlate to characteristics of ‘honour’-based abuse, for example how they are often committed by family behind closed doors.
In Alex’s story, their father said they would be ‘better dead than non-binary’, misgendered them and destroyed clothes that he thought were too masculine. Grace, who is lesbian, was threatened with being kicked out of her home if she didn’t go on dates with men much older than her. Joe’s family monitored his finances, clothing, communications and everyday movements. All of these actions are abuse.
Within Joe’s story we also learn that despite asking police for help he was returned to his family home time and again and the abuse continued. This is often seen in cases of ‘honour’-based abuse, where there is a lack of awareness or understanding about abuse of this nature, or where cultural sensitivity causes a fear of challenging abuse.
Galop’s recent research with YouGov shows that nearly 1 in 5 (18%) of LGBT+ people in the UK have been subjected to someone trying to change, ‘cure’ or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity, highlighting the scale of the issue in the UK.
Afrah Qassim, CEO and Founder of Savera UK, said: “This campaign is an incredibly powerful illustration of the threat of conversion ‘therapy’ to LGBTQ+ people in the UK and why action needs to be taken to ban it completely now.
“It also clearly highlights how ‘honour’-based abuse can happen anywhere and to anyone – not just in certain communities. Greater understanding around the many ways in which ‘honour’-based abuse presents is needed both among professionals and the general public.
“As with all forms of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices, when a person makes a disclosure about being subjected to or at risk of conversion ‘therapy’ or practices, the One Chance Rule should be followed, as that may be the only chase we have to help that person.
“Savera UK supports all people at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices, including conversion ‘therapy’, regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, disability, age, gender or sexuality. We join with Lush, Galop and all those calling for an immediate and fully inclusive ban of conversion ‘therapy’ and practices, which protects all LGBTQ+ people from harm.”
To watch the video and write to your MP and join the call for the ban, visit: weare.lush.com/have-a-heart-campaign/