Liberate backs UK government equality advisor’s resignation

THE island’s LGBTQ charity is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Guernsey woman who has resigned from the UK government’s LGBT advisory panel.

Equality adviser Jayne Ozanne has quit her UK government post, accusing ministers of creating a hostile environment for LGBT+ people. (Screenshot from ITV interview)
Equality adviser Jayne Ozanne has quit her UK government post, accusing ministers of creating a hostile environment for LGBT+ people. (Screenshot from ITV interview)

Jayne Ozanne has quit as an advisor and accused ministers of having a ‘Trump-esque mode of operation where they’re listening to the right wing evangelicals’.

Much of the argument centres on ‘conversion therapy’, treatments and psychotherapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

They can range from electric shock treatment to religious teaching and discussion.

Ms Ozanne, who is a prominent gay evangelical, set up the Ozanne Foundation to ensure acceptance and inclusion of gay rights within religion.

She believes that conversion therapy should be banned, which is the case in countries such as Australia, Canada, the US and Switzerland.

Guernsey’s LGBTQ charity, Liberate, has been following the national news story with interest.

Chief executive officer Ellie Jones said she fully supported Ms Ozanne.

‘Conversion therapy doesn’t work, it’s not a therapy, people are who they are. It would be like trying to convert people from being a different ethnicity or a different age, things don’t work that way.

‘Two quite close friends of mine have been taken down that route within the last decade and it’s done untold damage to their self-esteem, to how they feel about themselves. It’s not something that they were trying to put themselves through, the pressure came from family members.

‘There is nothing to convert someone from being gay, from being trans. People should be allowed to be what they are and there is no way this should legally be allowed to happen.

‘If we were more accepting in society it shouldn’t even be a discussion, it should just be something that we outlaw like other countries are.

‘Trying to help somebody not be something that they are just makes no sense to me. ‘

The UK government promised three years ago that it would ban conversion therapy and MPs across the political divide have expressed frustration over delays around the issue.

Announcing her resignation, Ms Ozanne said she felt she could have more impact from outside the panel, and she wanted to be able to criticise the government’s proposals on conversion therapy.

Ms Jones was confident that the tireless campaigning would continue.

‘She speaks so eloquently and so passionately about it. She is someone who tried to put herself through conversion therapy, so she knows the damage it can cause and how it makes people feel.

‘I think it speaks volumes about how somebody feels when they’re not listened to or they’re pushed to one side.

‘She’s sat in a very prominent position for the last two years on the advisory board, and I think she’s made a very strong statement by the sound of it, by walking away from that board.

‘It would take a lot for somebody to walk away from that position where they feel that they could have influence and could change things for the better for LGBT people, but she’s obviously felt that it wasn’t happening, so she felt that leaving would have a more positive impact for the community.’

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