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Councillor Bennett - Abusive Practices Against the LGBTIQA+ Community Motion


1  In October 2020, Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a comprehensive motion supporting trans rights (see notes section at end of motion)

2  That motion was brought because of the failure of the conservative government to keep its promises to reform the Gender Recognition Act to protect trans rights.

3  Once again, the conservative government is failing to keep its promises to the LGBTIQA+ community

4  In their 2018 manifesto, the conservatives promised to legislate to end the abusive practices popularly but incorrectly known as conversion therapy on LGBTIQA+ people.

5  Since then, there have been a number of U turns on this subject. The latest position as set out in the 10 May 2022 Queen’s Speech is an unsatisfactory proposal which excludes trans people completely and contains a number of provisions which would make it difficult and expensive to enforce.

6  In the circumstances, it seems fitting for this council to take a stand and re-affirm its support for trans rights and a full ban on the abusive practices commonly known as “conversion therapy”

7  It should be noted that the council’s support is not confined to words and it is proposed that we take a moment to record the actions taken by the council to support the LGBTIQA+ community since our October 2020 motion.


The Motion

1  This council continues to stand by its original 2020 declaration that trans rights are human rights.

2  It calls upon the government to restore its manifesto promise to introduce a full “conversion therapy” ban at the earliest possible opportunity and instructs the council to write to Elizabeth Truss, Equalities Minister to that effect

3  The council also wishes to list upon the public record the following steps that it has taken to promote fairness for the LGBTIQA+ community since October 2020:

a.  Annual briefings for staff and councillors on transgender awareness

b.  Financial support for charities and community organisations

c.  Participation in LGBTIQA+ community events such as LGBT+ history month

d.  Partnering with LGBTIQA+ community organisations such as Kite Trust and Encompass Network


The Notes

1  So called conversion “therapy” encompasses all attempts to change a person’s sexual/romantic orientation and/or gender identity or to change a person’s asexual or aromatic orientation or agender identity.

2  According to a 2009 Scientific American survey , "One in 25 British psychiatrists and psychologists say they would be willing to help homosexual and bisexual patients try to convert to heterosexuality, even though there is no compelling scientific evidence a person can willfully become straight", and explained that 17% of those surveyed said they had tried to help reduce or suppress homosexual feelings, and 4% said they would try to help homosexual people convert to heterosexuality in the future”

3  All major psychotherapy bodies have signed a 2018 NHS memorandum condemning conversion therapy. However, a 2018 government survey revealed that 1 in 20 LGBTIQA+ Britons had been offered conversion therapy and that 1 in 50 had been subjected to it. The figures for the Trans Community are higher at 1 in 5.

4  Survivors have been left feeling suicidal. In some cases, physical as well as mental harm has been involved.

5  Although the 2018 NHS memorandum is very clear, it does not have legal force. Moreover, it is unlikely to be regarded by unlicenced practitioners or other groups.


Appendix Text of original council Motion October 2020


Trans rights are human rights: Council motion

At the Council meeting on 22 October 2020, councillors passed a joint party motion titled ‘Trans rights are human rights’.

The full text of the motion is below:

Trans Rights are Human Rights

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary individuals are non-binary. We believe in the dignity of all people and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community. Our aspiration is for Cambridge and the wider region to be safe, welcoming and inclusive.

The Council notes:

1.  The failure of the Tory Government to keep its promise to reform the gender recognition act, claiming that these reforms are not a priority for the trans community, despite overwhelming support from that community to de-medicalise the process, remove the spousal veto, and allow non-binary individuals to gain legal recognition.

2.  The concerning number of reported hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ people, with hate crime against trans people having quadrupled in the last 5 years.

3.  The strong partnership the council has had with LGBTQIA+ groups in the city, including the Kite Trust, Dhiverse, the Encompass Network and Cambridge Pride and the desire to continue to build and develop these relationships as part of our equality work.

4.  Council’s support for LGBTQIA+ initiatives including:

   .  participation in schemes such as the Encompass Network Safe Spaces initiative,

  i.  financial support to LGBTQIA+ groups through the grants programme, with grants of £23,500 in the period 2020/21,

  ii.  LGBT+ History Month and Cambridge Pride,

  iii.  arranging awareness training for staff and councillors.

5.  That despite many positive initiatives there is always more to do to ensure that we are a genuinely supportive, inclusive and welcoming city.

6.  Our commitment to the Black Lives Matters movement, and our recognition that LGBT+ people of colour face particular challenges and prejudices.

This Council therefore resolves to:

  • Recognise that it should be up to LGBTQIA+ groups to decide what flag is flown to represent them, continue to consult with all LGBTQIA+ community support and voluntary groups within the city about flying the Progress Pride Flag, at every occasion where the Pride flag would previously have been flown. This also represents LGBTQIA+ people of colour, in line with our commitment to supporting the BLM movement.
  • State publicly that trans rights are human rights and affirm the legal rights of all protected groups under the 2010 equality act.
  • Facilitate and strongly encourage all councillors to attend relevant training, such as Safer Spaces and trans awareness training.
  • Fly the trans flag on international trans day of visibility (March 31st) and international trans day of remembrance (November 20th)
  • Look into what we can do as a council to further promote our equality pledge and to raise awareness of the community grants fund amongst LGBTQIA+ groups.
  • Recommit to ensuring a welcoming, inclusive, and respectful relationship with all groups recognised under The Equality Act as having protected characteristics, and to reviewing what additional work can be done to support all these groups as part of the upcoming review of the Single Equalities Scheme. And recommit to doing this in an environment of kindness, compassion and mutual respect.