Drag Race queen calls for trans conversion therapy ban in alternative Queen’s Speech

Ahead of the State Opening of Parliament, Drag Race UK’s River Medway has given an alternative Queen’s Speech for trans youth charity Mermaids.

Drag Race UK star River Medway calls on the government to bring forward a conversion therapy ban that protects trans people in an alternative queen’s speech. (Twitter/@Mermaids)


Tuesday’s (10 May) Queen’s Speech is expected to contain a formal announcement of a new bill to ban conversion therapy – however, the legislation will not cover trans conversion therapy.

Highlighting the harm the decision will cause in a video for Mermaids, River Medway declared the UK government has “royally messed up”.

Medway explained that lawmakers are aware of how “damaging” such practices are, and that “trans people are at a higher risk than the rest of the LGBTQ community” of being forced to endure conversion therapy.

“Conversion practices take many forms, from psychiatric to religious or cultural interventions,” she said. “They can be carried out by anyone, including community leaders and family members.

“But one thing they all have in common is that they are extremely cruel, and they do not work.” 

Condemning the government for breaking its promise to protect trans people, Medway urged ministers to “keep trans in the ban”.

Mermaids is urging people to write to their ministers and MPs to “ask them to speak up”.

“A government should be accountable to its people so tell them they got this one wrong,” River added in the video.

Last year’s Queen’s Speech announced that measures would be brought forward to ban conversion practices. This came after a ban was first promised in 2018 by then prime minister Theresa May.

However, those promises fell flat earlier this year when it was reported that the government was scrapping its proposed conversion therapy ban.

The government made a sharp U-turn just hours later and said it would be bringing forward protections for cisgender queer people – but not for the trans community

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand the government enact a ban on conversion therapy that protects all LGBTQ+ people. While prime minister Boris Johnson has lagged on bringing forward a UK-wide ban, Wales and Scotland have promised to push forward with trans-inclusive bans. 

A conversion therapy ban that also protects trans people will be debated in parliament after a petition garnered over 143,000 signatures.

The government’s own research on conversion therapy revealed that seven per cent of cisgender respondents had undergone or been offered conversion therapy, and this jumped to 13 per cent for trans respondents.

The petition said it was “shameful” that the UK government would “deliberately exclude trans people from a ban” despite knowing trans folk are at a “greater risk of experiencing the harmful and degrading” practice.


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