The Rainbow Project is withdrawing all support for the UK Government‘ Safe To Be Me’ conference and any proposed events for Northern Ireland.
As the UK’s first global LGBTQIA+ conference, Safe To Be Me should be a moment of celebration for the UK. Recent years have brought us much to celebrate including the introduction of same-sex marriage, inclusive blood donation policies based on risk and not identity, and the introduction of pardons for historic convictions. Along with our partners and community, we want to celebrate these important achievements.
However, the UK government’s procrastination, mixed messaging and failure to commit to protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community leave us no option but to boycott this event. In 2018 the UK Government launched its LGBTQ+ action plan and throughout the last 4 years has failed to follow through on those commitments, particularly concerning our trans, non-binary and gender diverse communities.
The Rainbow Project is committed to achieving a full ban on conversion practices throughout these islands, and support moves across the globe to ban these harmful practices. The UK government plans to exclude trans, non-binary and gender diverse people from a proposed ban on conversion practices is not acceptable. For the government to announce this on trans day of visibility is shameful. Trans people are amongst the highest risk groups in our community – the latest research from Galop shows that 11% of trans people have been subjected to conversion practices by their own families.
This decision has left us and others with no other choice than to take this decision. We are disappointed that the UK Government would break a 4 year-long promise of ending the abusive and torturous conversion practices in the UK.
John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said
“We will not accept a ban which does not protect our trans, non-binary and gender diverse communities. This Government has consistently failed to follow through on commitments to address the inequalities experienced by LGBTQIA+ people and in particular our trans, non-binary and gender diverse communities. We cannot and will not support this. Conversion practices are happening to LGBTQIA+ people across these islands each and every day. It may be cloaked in secrecy, religious dogma or so-called therapy. But each day without a ban is a day where LGBTQIA people are at risk of lifelong harm.”