Liam Arnull

Thesis title:

Treating Queerness: The Politics and Policy of Conversion ‘Therapy’ in the UK since 1861


Little research has been undertaken over queer conversion ‘therapy’ policy in the UK and this research aims to fill this gap. Conversion efforts (physical, medical, psychological, and spiritual) over sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) is still a pressing issue within the UK today. With the UN calling for a global ban on such practices that deeply impacts the well-being and human rights of sexual and gender minorities, this work will trace the historical development of this policy within the UK and its policy influences globally.

Focusing on a period from 1861, when penal servitude replaced the death penalty for male-male anal intercourse in the UK in an effort to convert convicts away from homosexuality, to the present, this research will undergo an historical analysis of the changing policy landscape to understand the agents, events and agendas that shaped it through an historical sociological strategy.

These insights will then be visually represented through systems mapping workshops to depict these relationships and safeguard against author selectivity bias as well incorporating insights from peers. Explanatory efforts through utilising Queer Theory will contribute to understanding these relationships and work towards emancipatory efforts for where these insights intersect present day issues. Dissemination of these findings will aid in better understanding the relationships at play towards conversion ‘therapy’ and create a contextually fuller picture of the policy landscape around this issue’s current manifestation in the UK.

Social media:

LinkedIn –
Twitter – @LiamArnull

First supervisor:

Anuj Kapilashrami


3 – Health, Biopolitics & Social Inequality