It may seem hard to imagine, but until 1992 the World Health Organisation classified homosexuality as a form of mental illness. Academic studies have shown an extraordinary prevalence, not too long ago, of therapists seeking to ‘convert’ gay people to become heterosexual – treating people’s sexuality as an illness rather than an inherent part of who they are.
In recent decades, society and the medical professions have fortunately come a long way. Most people now recognise that this as dangerous nonsense.
But there remain a few counsellors who still believe in the “treatment” of homosexuality to combat same-sex attractions. I said nearly a year ago now that, although there was no evidence to suggest that such practices were taking place in the NHS, I wanted to do all that I could to put an end to them once and for all.
As Liberal Democrats it is incredibly important that we work to create a society which is not only more tolerant and open, but also one in which people are able to access support which helps rather than harms them when they are struggling with issues like their sexual orientation.