Ben Shephard appeared surprised when asked if he thought he ‘could be converted to be gay’ while discussing Boris Johnson backtracking on the government’s U-turn on banning conversion therapies.
On Thursday, it was reported that Mr Johnson had dropped plans to outlaw conversion therapies, despite the prime minister previously calling the practices – which claim to suppress people’s sexual orientation or gender identity – ‘abhorrent’.
Following backlash, it has since been claimed that the PM has made a U-turn and will be moving to ban gay conversion therapy, although it’s been said this won’t apply to trans conversion therapy.
On Friday’s edition of Good Morning Britain, Shephard and Kate Garraway were joined in the ITV studio by former home secretary Jacqui Smith and broadcaster Iain Dale to talk about the latest updates on the government’s decisions regarding banning conversion therapy.
LBC host Dale said: ‘People watching might think, “What’s wrong, if somebody’s gay and they want to be straight, what’s wrong with conversion therapy?” Well, Ben, do you think that you could be converted to be gay?’
Seemingly taken aback by the question directed towards him, Shephard responded: ‘Erm, I can’t believe that there is a process that I would have to go through that’s got to change the way I feel about…’
Dale then interjected to respond: ‘The answer that you were searching for is no, which will disappoint 10% of the men watching this programme right now. But it’s not possible.’
He continued, stating that ‘no straight person would say, “Oh yes, I think I could be converted to be gay.” Just as no gay person could be converted to be straight’.
Describing conversion therapy as ‘an evil thing’ and ‘pernicious’, Dale emphasised that ‘there are thousands of people every year in this country who either do it or are forced to do it, and that’s why it has to be stopped’.
On the website for LGBT rights charity Stonewall, it states that a report found that one in 20 LGBT people, which equates to 5%, ‘have been pressured to access services to question or change their sexual orientation when accessing healthcare services’.
This number is said to increase to 9% for LGBT people who are aged between 18 to 24 year old, to 9% for Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people and to 8% for LGBT people who have disabilities.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.