The Stories of our times podcast, in collaboration with StoryHunter is releasing a new podcast series Thinking Straight, an investigation into conversion therapy in the UK.
In 2018, the British Government made a promise that it would put an end to conversion therapy. Three years later, LGBTQ+ people in Britain are still finding themselves on the receiving end of attempts to change or suppress their sexuality or gender identity. Experts estimate that tens of thousands of people, if not more, have experienced conversion therapy in the UK. Tactics can range from ‘counselling sessions’ to beatings, exorcisms, and ‘corrective’ rape.
Reporter Emily Sargent has been investigating conversion therapy for just under three years. In this series, she goes undercover to reveal to the public what’s really happening inside conversion therapy sessions across the UK.
The series will speak to survivors and experts to paint a full picture of this secretive and harmful practice, as well as turning a spotlight on the powerful religious lobby groups seeking to delay political action.
Guests include: Jayne Ozanne, Dr Kate Nambiar, Jide Macauley, Peter Tatchell, Suzi Ruffell, Steve Chalke, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Michael King, Dr Rohit Dasgupta, Chris Csabs, and more.
Speaking about the podcast, Emily Sargent said: “I was shocked to discover the prevalence of conversion therapy in Britain — and ashamed that as a member of the LGBTQ+ community I didn’t know about it earlier. Over the last several years, I’ve been immersed in the world of conversion therapy, this series is the result of that research.
“Going undercover felt like the only way to get to the heart of this story, but I had no idea how much it would affect me emotionally. Despite being happily out and comfortable with my sexuality now, the sessions left me deeply shaken and with a new understanding of the deep and lasting damage this practice can have on vulnerable LGBTQ+ people.
“Conversion therapy is a traumatising, abusive practice based on the principle that to be lesbian, gay, transgender or any other member of the LGBTQ+ community is a mental illness that can be cured. The Government has stalled on a legal ban for over three years now — we can’t delay it any further.”
The six episode series launches on 6 August and will be released every Friday in the ‘Stories of our Times’ feed, and then in full on The Times’ ‘Reporter’ feed.