A trans woman has opened up about her horrific experiences of conversion therapy in wake of the UK government’s reviled U-turn that will see LGB conversion therapy banned but trans conversion therapy remain legal.
Carolyn Mercer, 74, spoke to the Metro.co.uk about her experience of being strapped to a chair and given electric shocks to “cure her” at 17 years old.
“I went to an NHS hospital, I was taken into a dark room and strapped to a wooden chair. Electrodes were soaked in saltwater and stuck to my arm”, Mercer, from Lancashire, explained.
“Pictures of women were shone on the wall in front of me. Then randomly, they threw the switch.
“The pain shot through my body, my arm shot up in the air. This was repeated. They tried to make me associate pain with who I saw myself as being, who I wanted to be.”
Speaking about the government’s decision to scrap a ban on trans conversion therapy, Mercer told the news site that there will be “blood” on Boris Johnson’s hands.
The retired headteacher said: “For Johnson to say it’s utterly abhorrent for gay people, then why is it acceptable for trans people? It’s barbaric. Perhaps they want to go through it themselves and see what it’s like.
“As well as being barbaric, conversion practice is responsible for people losing their lives… If this isn’t banned, there is blood on people’s hands – particularly the prime minister’s, and he needs to realise that.
“If there was a will, the Conservative government could work the complexities out easily. They don’t want to do it.”
After six hour-long conversion therapy sessions, and years of struggling with depression, the teacher opened up to her family and began taking hormones in the early 1990s.
Despite now living her authentic life, Mercer told Metro that she never started to “like myself more” due to undergoing the conversion practice.
“I don’t physically shake anymore when I think about the treatment, that went on for 40 years, but I’m still struggling,” she said.
The majority of Conservative Party voters have backed a ban on trans conversion therapy, despite Johnson’s exclusion of the community from forthcoming legislation, a YouGov poll has found.
Polling conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Times found that 58 per cent of Tory voters back banning so-called conversion therapy that “seeks to change someone’s gender identity”, compared to only 19 per cent of Tory voters who don’t.The Times claimed that Tory voters found little difference between a ban on trans conversion therapy and a ban on LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) conversion therapy, with 63 per cent of Tory voters agreeing that therapy “seeking to change someone’s sexual orientation” should be stopped.This polling follows a petition which gained over 100,000 signaturesbacking a ban on conversion therapy after changes to the proposed legislation were made.“It’s shameful that the UK intends to deliberately exclude trans people from a ban in contrast to the approach taken by many countries, despite trans people being at a greater risk of experiencing the harmful and degrading practices,” the petition states.
“The government’s own figures show that trans people are nearly twice as likely to be at risk of experiencing the harmful & degrading practices of conversion therapy.
“A ban needs to ensure all forms of conversion therapy are banned.”