The Derbyshire LGBT+ charity is hosting a protest against conversion therapy outside Chesterfield Town Hall from 6.00pm on Friday, May 5. This comes after the Government pledged to ban the practice earlier this month, but did not extend this to protect transgender people.
Calum McFabulous, otherwise known as Calum McDermott, is an LGBTQ+ campaigner who was born and raised in Hasland. He said the protest was being held to push the Government to alter the ban, and ensure that trans people were protected from the ‘pain’ of conversion therapy.
“Right now, transgender people's rights are under threat. Conversion therapy is the so called 'treatment' to convert LGBTQ+ people into the opposite of what they are – turning a gay person straight or a transgender person cisgender.
“As an actual LGBTQ+ person I can say that this doesn't work. We're born this way and no matter our age, this doesn’t magically change us, it only causes pain. Conversion therapy is barbaric. At its worst it can involve extreme abuse, torture and violence including rape and electric shock therapy. What many don't know is that it is still legal in the UK.”
“There has been a lot of campaigning over the years to ban conversion therapy. A few weeks ago, in leaked government documents, it was stated that the ban which was previously promised by the Queen and Boris Johnson wouldn't be going ahead. This resulted in a huge backlash from LGBTQ+ people such as myself.
“Within 24 hours, it was then confirmed that Boris would ban conversion therapy but wouldn't include transgender people within the ban, meaning they could still legally face this abuse. This demonstrates to me, as well as to others, that transgender people lack support, which is wrong. As a result, protests are taking part across the country, including in Chesterfield and Sheffield, to fight for a ban which is inclusive of trans people.”
Calum, who previously attended what was then Hasland Hall Community School, said that he wanted to be the pro-LGBTQ+ figure that he needed in his own life as he was growing up. He stressed that everyone knows or loves someone who is LGBTQ+, and urged locals to support the protest at the town hall.
“Growing up I lacked LGBTQ+ representation which birthed a confusion, a hatred of my own self within me. I was taught that being queer was somehow different in a bad way. Now I can say that I love being queer. I identify as a gay, queer man and I use my voice to fight against injustices and uplift the LGBTQ+ communities of Derbyshire. I want to be what I lacked growing up.
“People who are transphobic, homophobic, racist or discriminatory in any way – they lack education and understanding. I'm not trans, yet I have an open mind and an open heart – I’m willing to understand others and I understand that trans people are just like everybody else. They just want to live happy, healthy, safe lives, where they're free to be themselves – just like everybody does.”
“We all need to remember that there are so many different life experiences outside of our own. I want to stress that we all know of, look up to or love someone who is LGBTQ+.
“Therefore, an LGBTQ+ issue isn't just an LGBTQ+ issue. It's something everyone should care about. I want to call upon straight, cisgender people and allies to stand with us and alongside trans people, because fighting together for a future of inclusivity and positivity that represents everyone is surely beneficial to us all.”