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    Feeling pain and shame: the emotional grammar of banning ‘conversion therapy’

    Raj, Senthorun ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6972-9252 (2023) Feeling pain and shame: the emotional grammar of banning ‘conversion therapy’. In: Banning 'Conversion Therapy': legal and policy perspectives. Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp. 85-108. ISBN 9781509961153 (hardback); 9781509961184 (ebook)

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    Abstract

    Banning ‘conversion therapy’ is an emotionally fraught area of law reform, anchored in pain and stigma. Conversion practices function on a logic of pain and shame: proponents weaponise the idea that an LBGT+ person is ‘broken’ and in need of repair or healing. These practices generate pain and suffering, alongside associated emotions of shame, for LBGT+ individuals who endure its stigmatising effects. In response to this, some legislators harness their pain at witnessing such practices along with their shame for not acting sooner while others emphasise their fears of legal regulation that could burden religious freedom and free speech. By examining a British legislative debate for a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy, this chapter maps the emotional grammar of the pain and shame at the heart of this reform. Drawing on queer affect theory, this chapter uses emotion methodologically to understand the affective terms through which a conversion therapy ban materialises legislatively in the UK and how this reform purports to end conversion practices. The chapter concludes with a ‘reparative reading’ of law reform – one that critically navigates pain and shame while loosening our attachment to law reform – to consider the limits and possibilities of law to repair homo/bi/transphobic harms.

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