‘Fundamentally flawed’ report being used in push to ban conversion therapy

The Christian Institute 10 April 2021
A new report being used by LGBT lobby groups to put pressure on the Government to ban so-called conversion therapy has been dismissed as “fundamentally flawed”.

The 2020 Conversion Therapy & Gender Identity Survey was produced by Stonewall, Mermaids, GIRES, LGBT Foundation and the Ozanne Foundation. Published last month, it concluded that attempts to change people’s ‘gender identity’ occur in the UK, that such practices are “harmful”, and that there is broad support for a ban.

However, Michael Biggs, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford, said the report lacks credibility.

Small cohort

Prof Biggs was scathing of the way the 20-page report was compiled, noting that it appears to have been produced without the involvement of any credible social scientist, and that the study’s cohort was “not sampled from a defined population, as in a proper scientific survey”.

He said: “Instead, they were recruited online by the same organizations that are campaigning for legislation. The pamphlet does not provide the questionnaire completed by the respondents, as is standard in scientific research.”

  a slender basis on which to propose new legislation

He continued: “Out of a total 1504 responses to the survey, only 51 respondents had undergone ‘gender identity conversion therapy’. Of these, 8 ‘felt it worked completely’. Therefore the survey identified only 43 people who reported negative experiences. This number is surely a slender basis on which to propose new legislation.”

Excludes detransitioners

The report’s analysis also excluded 28 per cent of the survey responses, with many omitted for being ‘transphobic’.

Prof Biggs said: “No objective criteria are provided to define transphobia; the epithet apparently serves to exclude responses that contradicted the legislative agenda of the organizations funding the research.”

He added that he believes any responses by detransitioners such as Keira Bell, who regrets being given cross-sex hormones for her gender dysphoria, would have been excluded on that basis.

‘Little scientific value’

The sociologist also noted that the report’s definition of conversion therapy is extremely broad and covers everything from “‘severe physical and sexual violence’ including rape”, to “voluntary counselling by an NHS psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist”.

He pointed out that acts of sexual violence are “abhorrent”, but are “already serious crimes, and so legislation is not required to outlaw them”.

Prof Biggs concluded: “In sum, then, the research reported in the pamphlet has little, if any, scientific value. It reinforces the impression that the proposed legislation is motivated by the desire to further institutionalize gender ideology rather than the need to address a real social problem.”

the proposed legislation is motivated by the desire to further institutionalize gender ideology rather than the need to address a real social problem


The report was commissioned and overseen by prominent LGBT lobbyist and Church of England General Synod member Jayne Ozanne.

She has previously compared churches and Christians that uphold the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics to ‘Holocaust deniers’ and ‘rapists’.

The Ozanne Foundation has affirmed and celebrated LGBT practice and called for a ban on “all attempts to change, suppress or erase a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression”.

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