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A Magazine for Sheffield

Sheffield protesters to take a stand against anti-trans conversion therapy

As the government promises to allow anti-trans conversion therapy to remain, a grassroots group of trans and non-binary people are planning a demo in Sheffield on Saturday.

Placard reading 'If it's "utterly abhorrent" for LGB, it must be for T'
Karollyne Hubert

Despite years of promises to ban anti-LGBT+ conversion therapy, the government has backtracked. Having done a quick U-turn after stating the ban was cancelled, the Conservatives are now saying they will ban anti-LGB conversion therapy but that anti-trans conversion therapy will remain legal.

Conversion therapy is known to not only be profoundly damaging to those who experience it, but also entirely ineffective. Campaigners have insisted for years that it should be made illegal, but even if the partial ban comes into law, trans and non-binary people will still be unprotected.

Sophia*, infuriated at this injustice, put out a call for others who wanted to campaign for a full ban and is now part of Sheffield Against Conversion Therapy, a group of grassroots campaigners who have organised a demo this Saturday. Asked why she wanted to take action, she told Now Then,

I think it’s important to have a context of what protest is to lots of LGBT people. A lot of the time, people only see LGBT activists on the street when it’s Pride and we’re very lucky in Sheffield that we had a very political pride a couple of years ago, but around the UK it’s very much more of a party than a protest.

This decision, and lots of other decisions by this government, are really harming trans and non-binary people, but all LGBT people as well. I kind of felt a responsibility in some ways to do something and to stand up and not just be a passive participant in this government’s failure.

Sheffield Protest Against Conversion Therapy, Sheffield City Hall S1 2JA 11AM-12PM 30th April
Sheffield Against Conversion Therapy

While Theresa May seemed determined to do better for LGBTQI+ people, Sophia suspects that Boris Johnson has “really fought for the vote of transphobes and bigots” and aims to divide and conquer the community.

But what we’ve seen with protests in London, and Manchester, and all being well in Sheffield on Saturday, is that LGBT people won’t be divided. And that we’re going to stand together. While our experiences might be slightly different, we have the same shared battles. And a lot of the transphobia that we’re seeing now is just reheated homophobia from a few decades ago.

The protest takes place Saturday at 11am by Sheffield City Hall. Sophia advises, “bring noise, bring banners, bring placards. We really want as many people there as possible. We want lots of different types of people. You don’t have to be trans or non-binary, we want all LGBT people and straight, cis people too.”

*Sophia chose to use a pseudonym

More Democracy & Activism

More Democracy & Activism