Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Proposed Ban on Conversion Therapy: A Libertarian View

By Dr. Sean Gabb

So far as I understand it, conversion therapy is the attempt, by prayer, by nagging, and by playing with mental associations, to change sexual tastes. It is mostly tried by male Christians who are disturbed by their inclinations. For what it may be worth, my opinion is that, unless they involve non-consensual violence, sexual tastes are trivial things, and no one with an atom of sense would ever wish to change them. I also suspect that attempts at change are generally inadvisable. But, if inadvisable – indeed, even if positively dangerous – there is no reason for the law to be involved in the matter. So long as there is neither force nor fraud, what adults do to themselves, or procure for themselves, or offer to other consenting adults, should be their business alone.

The British Government does not agree, and has announced that it will introduce a comprehensive ban on conversion therapy. It seems to have given in to the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which has been frantically campaigning for a ban since before I began receiving its spam e-mails. The Government will ban the practice, and is asking for suggestions on how comprehensive the ban should be.


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