The following definition and notes, developed by the Welsh Government’s Working Group on Banning Conversion Practices, are solely for policy and campaign purposes and are not intended as a legal definition.
‘Conversion practices’, sometimes known as ‘conversion therapy’, is used as an umbrella term to describe harmful interventions of a wide-ranging nature, all of which are premised on the misconception, or on the predetermined purpose, that a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender, including gender identity, can be changed, “cured”, or suppressed. For example, such practices are often aimed at effecting a change from gay, lesbian, or bisexual to heterosexual and/or from trans, non-binary, or gender diverse to cisgender. Depending on the context, the term is used for a multitude of practices and methods, some of which are clandestine and therefore poorly documented.
Note 1: affirmative care
Affirmative care is defined as approaches to healthcare delivery in which the providers recognise, validate and/or support a person’s gender identity and sexual orientation. These approaches would not fall within the definition of conversion practices because they do not seek to change, suppress and/or “cure” a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The free exploration of gender identity and sexual orientation must not be impeded by a ban on conversion practices. Specifically, any ban must not negatively impact transgender, non-binary, or intersex individuals’ access to healthcare provisions and affirmative care.
Note 2: settings of conversion practices
Conversion practices have been reported in religious settings; family or domestic settings; and have been mistakenly labelled as “therapy” in mental health, psychiatric and other healthcare settings.
Religious, faith-based, or spiritual settings are often the most cited environments correlated to conversion practices. This would include spoken prayer that seeks to change, suppress and/or “cure” a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, directed at one individual or a group of individuals.