The Scottish Government has today published proposals for an outright ban on conversion therapy practises in Scotland.

The publication of the 86-page consultation is a key stage in a process which will criminalise attempts to change or suppress the gender identity or sexual orientation of another person.

Unveiling the consultation, Equalities minister Emma Roddick, said: "Conversion practices, which aim to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, are damaging and destructive acts that violate people's human rights.

"Sadly, these practices still happen today and they have absolutely no place in Scotland.

"In taking forward our commitment to ban conversion practices we are leading the way in the UK and joining the growing list of countries acting to address this harm."

Conversion therapy practises have been largely condemned by human rights organisations and global bodies, among them the United Nations Human Rights Council and European Parliament, both of which have made repeated calls to ban.

However, the proposals in Scotland have their opponents, among them the Catholic Church, who have described them as 'chilling'.

Blair Anderson grew up in a highly religious community and came out as gay in his early teens. He has shared his experiences of conversion practises with the Herald and told how people tried to persuade him to suppress his sexuality.

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"For the rest of my childhood I underwent conversion therapy - years of attempts to stop me being gay. For years, there was a relentless campaign of terror about the evils of being gay, with constant surveillance and whispered threats about what would happen to me if I slipped up," said Blair, 25, who is a councillor for the Scottish Greens in Glasgow.

"Conversion therapy almost cost me my life. The constant internal battle between who I was and who I was pretending to be brought profound shame and self-loathing. Most of my teenage years and early twenties were spent battling bulimia, panic attacks, self harm and plans of suicide as a means of escape. 

"Moving away from the area I grew up to go to university was my chance to truly accept my sexuality for the first time. While escaping conversion therapy was life-saving, I will always carry the scars of it; my complex post traumatic stress disorder will require constant treatment and daily medication for the rest of my life."

He added: "Conversion therapy has taken a lot from me - my childhood, my faith, and almost my life. But it has not taken my sexuality from me, and I am grateful for that. It is not possible to change your sexuality or gender identity - these are fundamental and innate aspects of who you are. 

"LGBTQ+ people are not sick, or wrong, or broken. I have been very lucky to build a new life for myself. Not all victims of conversion therapy are that lucky; not all victims survive. A ban on conversion therapy is Scotland’s chance to say clearly to LGBTQ+ people: you are worthy of safety, love and respect exactly as you are."