‘It was a fight to get out the system,’ says trans therapist and conversion therapy survivor

Daniel was given antipsychotic medication when he told his doctor he was trans

Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered outside Downing Street in protest against the exclusion of trans people from the government’s proposed conversion therapy ban.

Under the ban, while gay and bi people will be protected from conversion therapy practices, trans people will not. Among those showing their anger towards the government was Daniel, a trans conversion therapy surviver and trainee therapist.

When Daniel was younger, he received a type of conversion therapy. “There was a kind of accepted narrative that trans people were deluded,” Daniel told The Tab. “So the first line of treatment for me as a young trans person was antipsychotic medication.”

He adds: “It was a fight to get out of that system and to get access to the treatment that has allowed me to live my life.”

Many years, later, Daniel works with trans and non-binary people, none of whom have experienced any form of conversion therapy.

Daniel takes issue with the term conversion therapy- commonly used to denote the practice of changing something fundamental about an individual’s identity. “I think the term conversion therapy is a misnomer because we’re not talking about anything I would recognise as therapy.

“We’re talking about practices which have one outcome as the only positive outcome for therapy and that is for the person to desist from identifying in the way the identify, whether that’s on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity. And for me that’s as far away from therapy as you can get,” Daniel said.

For anyone needing support, the National Conversion Therapy Helpline is open on 0800 130 3335 and [email protected].

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story you can contact Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline, on 0300 330 0630 or visit their website. You can also find help through young people’s charity The Mix, and Galop, the LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• ‘None of us feel safe’: Trans activists at Downing Street conversion therapy protest

• Trans conversion therapy survivor was strapped to a chair and electrocuted repeatedly

• ‘It’s upsetting and disgusting’: Young trans people on the muddled conversion therapy ban