THE Scottish Government has published proposals for a ban on conversion therapy as part of a consultation.

The 86-page document, released on Tuesday, details ministers’ plans to criminalise the practice, which sees people attempt to change or suppress the gender identity or sexual orientation of another person.

The proposed legislation is aimed at a particular form of harmful behaviour that seeks to change or suppress who a person is, using coercive and repeated behaviour or providing a service that is purported to be able to change them.

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In order for any act to be considered a conversion practice in the proposed legislation, there must be an intention to change or suppress another individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity and there must be harm caused.

Equalities Minister Emma Roddick (below) said the consultation showed Scotland was "leading the way" in the UK in banning conversion therapy practices.

The National: Emma Roddick represents the Highlands and Islands at Holyrood

The Scottish Greens said the consultation was "a vital step for LGBTQIA+ equality and dignity" in Scotland.

The National spoke to Scottish Greens councillor Blair Anderson, who has been at the forefront of campaigning for a ban on conversion therapy practices, and who underwent conversion therapy, about the importance of the ban for LGBT people.

“Once the ban is in place – all going well – it will be really exciting to see years of campaigning pay off," Anderson said.

“I think most people think that conversion therapy doesn't really happen, or they think that it's quite an obscure thing."

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Anderson pointed towards towards the UK Government’s national LGBT survey, which found around 7% of LGBT people have been offered or undergone conversion therapy.

“That’s a huge number of people. Some research says that people who’ve undergone conversion therapy are twice as likely to attempt suicide as people who haven’t. It is a really significant public health issue for LGBT people.”

But opponents of the ban, such as Fergus Ewing (below), have alleged the legislation will undermine the rights of parents.

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Writing in his local paper, the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, Ewing argued that he had not “come across any parents who were happy about the prospect of some third party having power – unclear and unspecified power at that – over their own children”.

“It’s nonsense, because the law does that,” Anderson responded.

“There’s plenty of law out there that regulates how parents can raise their children.

“The idea that parents have absolute control with zero restrictions on what they do to their children is fundamentally wrong and shows a really worrying attitude that children are possessions or objects of their parents.”

He continued: “There's a very fine balancing act when it comes to rights. Parents have the right to raise their children and people have the right to practice their beliefs. LGBT people and children have rights to be safe and protected from abuse.

“The evidence is effectively unanimous, there is zero evidence that conversion therapy works and there are massive incidences of ill health as a result of it.”

The consultation on the bill is set to run until April 4.

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Equalities Minister Emma Roddick said: “Conversion practices, which aim to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, are damaging and destructive acts that violate people’s human rights.

“Sadly, these practices still happen today and they have absolutely no place in Scotland.

“In taking forward our commitment to ban conversion practices we are leading the way in the UK and joining the growing list of countries acting to address this harm.

“The consultation responses we receive will help us to further consider those measures we can take to stop the harm of conversion practices and protect those at risk while ensuring that freedoms, including freedoms of speech, religion, and belief, are safeguarded.”