Government cancels international LGBT+ conference amid backlash over trans row

The Government's landmark international LGBT+ conference, due to take place in June, has been cancelled.

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The Government’s landmark international LGBT+ conference, due to take place in June, has been cancelled, the PA news agency understands.

This comes after the UK’s LGBT+ business champion has resigned “with a heavy heart” over the Government’s “profoundly shocking” position on banning conversion therapy for transgender people.

Iain Anderson said trust and belief in the Government’s commitment to LGBT+ rights has been damaged, after a series of U-turns on plans to introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy.

He is the latest in a series of high-profile individuals and groups to hit out at the Government, with at least 100 organisations pulling out of its forthcoming landmark LGBT conference.

More than 80 LGBT+ groups and more than 20 HIV groups have said they will not take part in the Safe To Be Me conference, scheduled for June, unless Boris Johnson reverts to his promise for a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy.

Last week it was initially announced that ministers were scrapping plans to ban the practice, sparking a furious backlash.

A Government spokesman confirmed that they were looking instead at ways of preventing it through existing law and “other non-legislative measures”.

However, within hours the PM was said to have “changed his mind” and a senior Government source was quoted as saying legislation would be introduced.

The Government then said it is committed to a legislative ban, but that separate work is required to “consider the issue of transgender conversion therapy further”.

Mr Anderson added that it was “profoundly shocking” that the Government had backtracked on protection for transgender people during the same week that the first trans MP felt able to share his journey.

A Government spokeswoman said: “We thank Iain for his contributions as LGBT business champion.

“The Government has a proud record on LGBT rights and we remain committed to building upon that work with sensitivity and care.”