Man's petition to stop gay conversion therapy reaches 100k names
- Credit: Ross Nicholas
A petition to ban the "disgusting" practice of conversion therapy started by a member of Norfolk's LGBT+ community has reached over 100,000 signatures.
Ross Nicholas, 25, began his "STOP LGBT+ CONVERSION THERAPY" petition at the end of the first lockdown after seeing a sponsored advert for a conversion therapy clinic on his Facebook timeline.
It has now reached 107,000 signatures.
During the Queen's speech on May 11, she said the government was introducing legislation to stop the practice.
While Mr Nicholas, of Bawdeswell, near Dereham, said he was relieved the issue had been addressed, he echoed LGBT+ campaigners who say the preceding public consultation will cause unacceptable delay.
He said: "Delaying the ban and allowing prejudice to go unchecked is its own form of conversion therapy.
"This ad I saw on my timeline was obviously targeting gay people and I found it disturbing and disgusting. It makes people feel like who they are is wrong.
"I did some research and was shocked to find that conversion therapy is still a thing here in the UK, with some clinics, mainly religious ones, forcing gay people to have sex with members of the opposite sex or using electric shock therapy to "correct" people's behaviour. It's theoretically rape."
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He added that as long as conversion therapy still existed people would be tempted to use it - whether that's adults who do not feel comfortable with their sexuality or parents who want to "fix" their child while they're still young.
"The issue was brought to parliament in 2018 but was just left to sink", he said.
Mr Nicholas, who came out when he was 14 and was supported by staff and fellow students at Future Education in NR5, said while things are generally "better" for gay people in his generation, Norfolk has a long way to go.
He said: "I'm not particularly flamboyant, but I definitely feel more comfortable being that way in Manchester or London than I do Norfolk.
"The older generation in Norfolk is bigger than the young, and older people are sometimes less accepting of the LGBT+ community.
"This is why I want to be a policeman here, to help support my community and others and make Norfolk a safer place for everyone."
Sign the petition by visiting: www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-stop-lgbt-conversion-therapy