APPARENTLY, this should start with a list of qualifiers so here are my credentials: I was a rambunctious child who didn’t like “girly” things, wanted to be a boy like my brother, played football and didn’t play with dolls, I haven’t worn a dress since my First Communion, I’ve been an out lesbian since I was a teenager. I’m not trans and no-one has ever attempted to “trans” me. With that irrelevance done, let’s turn to the actual substance of the issue.

I have already spoken in Parliament about how transphobia is currently used as a recruitment tactic by fundamentalists and the far right, but it is worth remembering that the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation also said: “Transphobia should be recognised as a security threat”. Given the intensity and high stakes at play, let’s get a few things straight (pun intended).

Firstly, self-ID isn’t a new concept. It is the right all of us have to self-identify who we are. Every time you fill in a form, you are self-identifying your nationality, your sexual orientation, religion etc. Every time you choose which toilet to use in public you are using self-ID ie, Male, Female, Disabled, Baby Changing Facilities. Those who oppose Gender Recognition Act reform presumably favour the current rules that trans people must follow to legally change their birth certificate.

Ironically, those current rules already explicitly require trans people to self-ID and live in their acquired gender for two years. The Equality Act (2010) gave trans people the right to self-ID.

READ MORE: This is the reality of conversion therapy, I've lived it

Anyone asking to remove or limit trans people’s right to self-ID is asking to take away rights they’ve had for over a decade. Creating a class of people who have fewer rights than the rest of us is directly oppressive and should be considered unacceptable in any functioning social democracy.

Secondly, it is perplexing that there are claims that gender non-conforming young people are being rushed through any process, when gender identity clinics are currently taking people for a first appointment who were initially referred in October 2017. If anything, improving access to decent healthcare in an appropriate timeframe is the issue we should be most focused on.

The newest thing anti-trans campaigners want you to believe is that the proposed conversion therapy ban is somehow problematic. It has been suggested the effects of the ban will prevent therapists from exploring issues with gender identity with their clients. This is a flagrant lie.

Although there is always room for improvement within healthcare, therapists currently working with gender nonconforming young people know how to explore these issues safely and will continue to do so after the ban. That is because what they do is not conversion therapy.

Here’s what the UK Government says about its proposals: “This document supports therapists to provide appropriately informed and ethical practice when working with a client who wishes to explore, experiences conflict with or is in distress regarding, their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Conversion therapy has already been defined by all the professional governing bodies that oversee counsellors and therapists. They are opposed to “any misuse of counselling and psychotherapy to attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identification”.

The latest Memorandum of Understanding from these combined bodies stated that the therapeutic relationship must be “free from any agenda that favours one gender identity or sexual orientation over other gender and sexual diversities”.

However innocuous it may seem to suggest that people just need a little help to “feel comfortable in their birth sex”, that is an explicit example of one gender identity being favoured over another. It is therapy with a predetermined outcome. It is therapy with an agenda. It is conversion therapy. I read a tweet from Blair Anderson (@blairanderson35) – a Green Party candidate in Glasgow who experienced the torture of conversion therapy – that described what he went through and what he is still going through.

He wrote: “Conversion therapy almost killed me when I was a child. It robbed me of my childhood and my home. It gave me PTSD that means I take pills every day & wake up screaming from nightmares

most nights.”

Conversion therapy only exists because of the societal notion that being gay or trans is wrong. It’s sinful. It’s dirty. It can be fixed. You can be cured. All the previous statements are torture, because there is nothing to cure.

READ MORE: Expert group to advise Scottish Government on conversion therapy ban

Every day the validity of trans people is a major discussion in the media. Their validity is a wedge issue used by opportunistic politicians seeking to further their career goals. People’s right to go to the toilet in dignity is repeatedly questioned loudly and it can be deafening – even though the facts are there for anyone prepared to educate themselves.

Despite the parliamentary reports, the expert advice and evidence proving these changes are well-informed decisions, the internet still succumbs to disinformation, cheap factionalism, and ignorance.

So, in the spirit of the internet, let me be clear, #IStandWith the British Psychological Society, The Association for Family Therapy, Association of Christian Counsellors, GLAAD, the BABCP, the BACP, the BADTH, British Psychoanalytic Council, COSRT, The National Counselling Society, NHS England, NHS Scotland, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union, Royal College of GPs, UK Council for Psychotherapy, Royal College of Psychiatrists,

MH Network NHS Confederation, and others.

I stand against conversion therapy in all its guises, as should you.