Conor Clark for GAY TIMES

The petition calling for trans people to be protected in a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ in the UK is less than 14,000 signatures away from 150,000.

It is now the fourth most-signed open petition on the government’s official website.

It previously reached the 100,000 threshold required to be considered for parliamentary debate on 11 April.

The person who launched the petition, Sammantha Harris, told GAY TIMES that it “was born out of a frustration with how the current government is treating LGBTQ+ people and especially trans people.”

“I was expecting it to take weeks to get anywhere near the numbers it has now, and am moved by the solidarity the community has shown trans people,” she continued.

“Not just in signing the petition itself but how frequently it’s been shared, how many people have emailed their MPs over trans people being removed from the ban and the showing at the recent protest in London.”

Thousands demonstrated against the government’s decision to exclude trans people from a ban of the practice across from Downing Street on 10 April.

Many people held placards demanding that the government reconsider its stance, with those chanting sharing a similar sentiment.

At 10,000 signatures, the government is obligated to issue a response to a petition.

The government’s website states that petitions with 100,000 signatures or more “are almost always debated.”

“But we may decide not to put a petition forward for debate if the issue has already been debated recently or there’s a debate scheduled for the near future,” it continues. “If that’s the case, we’ll tell you how you can find out more about parliamentary debates on the issue raised by your petition.”

Despite the petition having more than 136,000 signatures by the evening of 19 April, the government is yet to respond to it or confirm a date for debate.

‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, often involving techniques such as electroshock therapy or prayer.

It has been widely condemned by health experts all over the world, with some comparing it to torture.

Among these are the National Health Service, World Health Organisation, World Psychiatric Association and the United Nations.

A commitment to banning it was first made by Theresa May’s administration in 2018, though is yet to actually happen.

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, criticised the government for “flip-flopping” and said ‘conversion therapy’ should be banned “in all its forms”.

You can sign the petition by clicking here.