'If you are Trans you know you are Trans': Hundreds protest in York

·3-min read
'If you're Trans, you know you're Trans' - left to right, Sophie Fox, Amelia Connolly,  Sister Polly Amorosa and Alexandra Watts at this afternoon's protest
'If you're Trans, you know you're Trans' - left to right, Sophie Fox, Amelia Connolly, Sister Polly Amorosa and Alexandra Watts at this afternoon's protest

HUNDREDS of people gathered in York's St Helen's Square this afternoon to protest at the Government's plans to exclude Trans people from the ban on conversion therapy.

The government says it want to ban 'abhorrent' practices intended to convince people they are not gay or bisexual.

But the ban will not include attempts to convince Trans people they are a certain gender.

Those gathered in St Helen's Square from 2pm said that was just not right.

Sophie Fox, 36, from Pocklington, who spent most of her life living as Sam but is now transitioning, said being Trans was not a phase.

"It doesn't go away," she said. "Trying to convince people that they are not Trans is not right."

York Press:
York Press:

Protesters in St Helen's Square this afternoon

Sophie said she knew from when she was in primary school that something was not right. But because of pressure from school and family she tried to convince herself she was a boy.

She suffered years of depression, she said.

"I didn't feel comfortable in my body, didn't identify with the person I saw in the mirror."

It was only when she began transitioning that she felt she could be who who she really was.

"I'm much happier, more comfortable," she said. "I have better relationships and better friendships."

Amelia Connolly, 19, from York, who is also in the process of transitioning, said she had known from the age of three that she wasn't a boy.

She, too, suffered from depression. "They say it is a phase, that it will go away" she said. "It isn't. Trans people have a higher risk of suicide."

Nobody in the Trans movement wanted to force anyone to be something they were not, she said - they just wanted the practice of conversion therapy to be banned. "It is really dangerous. It can lead to people killing themselves."

York Press:
York Press:

Several hundred people gathered in front of the Mansion House

Conversion therapy can include talking therapies and prayer, but more extreme forms can include exorcism, physical violence and even food deprivation.

The British Psychological Society and other professional bodies, including NHS England, have warned all kinds of conversion therapy are "unethical and potentially harmful"

Plans to outlaw conversion therapy for gay and bisexual people aged under 18 were included in the Queen's Speech.

But the government has said that transgender conversion therapy is too complicated to be included for now and separate work will be carried out into the "complexity of issues".

It said there were worries a ban could have "unintended consequences" which might affect teachers, parents and therapists helping children struggling with their gender identity.

But Alexandra Watts, 64, from Leeds - who spent most of her life living as Alexander - said the Government had been influenced by members of the General Medical Council who felt they were the only ones qualified to determine someone's gender.

That's rubbish, she said. "If you are Trans, you know you are Trans."

York Press:
York Press:

Jake Furby of York LGBT Forum

Jake Furby of York LGBT Forum, which organised this afternoon's protest, said he welcomed the proposed ban on gay/ bisexual conversion therapy - but said it should include Trans people.

Conversion therapy was an 'abhorrent' practice which was often practised on young, vulnerable people, he said.

"We're here to show solidarity. We need to push for change, for Trans people to be included."

  • In a statement supplied to The Press, the General Medical Council has stressed that it supports calls to end ‘conversion therapy’ for both the gay and trans communities.

GMC Professor Colin Melville said: "We continue to support calls to end the practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK. This practice is inherently harmful and coercive and therefore a clear breach of the standards we expect of all doctors registered in the UK.

"Our guidance is clear that we expect doctors to practise evidence-based medicine. Research shows that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ does not work and can cause long lasting damage. We take very seriously any allegation about a doctor engaging in this practice."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting