MSPs have been told that a ban on conversion therapy would be “the greatest statement of freedom we could make”.
The practice, which attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of an individual using methods that have been equated to torture by its opponents, has been widely condemned in Scotland, with all political parties pledging to outlaw such therapies during the election.
A petition which garnered more than 5,000 signatures in the past year, is also being considered by Holyrood’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee.
At a meeting of the committee on Tuesday, Dr Igi Moon from the Memorandum of Understanding Coalition Against Conversion Therapy (MOU), said it was time to act to end the practice.
“I don’t know how much further research we want to really do,” they said.
“It’s happening, we know it’s happening, we have the evidence that it’s happening, we need to stop it.
“We have an opportunity, and any young person that is born today and when they reach 10 or 15 and they have an opportunity to live in this world in a safe way because of what we’ve done, that to me is one of the greatest statements of freedom that anybody could possible ever have.
“I think that’s why we’re here.
“That young person doesn’t need to know who we are, what that young person needs to know is that what we have done is create a safety and a security for their life.”
Dr Moon added: “With all due respect, I think there’s a limit on how much research, how many consultations, how many meetings we can have – it’s an abhorrent practice, it needs to stop, we have that opportunity, let’s do it.”
They went on to say that they had been told before more research on the amount of trans people being “persuaded” into conversion therapy was needed.
“My argument to that was ‘while we do the research, people are actually dying and I’m not going to be culpable to that,” they said.
They added: “We need research, but not at the expense of a ban.”
Driving their point home, Dr Moon said: “There are young people who desperately need to know that they can live in this world safely.
“That needs to happen because of what you implement, it needs to happen because of what we do.”
Dr Moon’s testimony proved powerful with MSPs on the committee.
Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy took to Twitter to express her eagerness for change to the law.
“Just sat through one of the most powerful evidence sessions of the @SP_EHRCJ yet,” the Glasgow MSP said.
“Dr Igi Moon pushed the need to get on and ban conversion therapy, without delay.
“I was already impatient for change, now I’m literally ready to head straight to the Chamber & get this in law today.”