ACT follows Victoria and announces ban on gay conversion therapy

The Australian Capital Territory’s Labor government has announced it will ban gay conversion therapy.

The announcement was made this week as the ACT released its Capital of Equality plan which outlines the ways the government will tackle disadvantages faced by LGBTIQ people over the next four years.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the government would bring in legislation that would prohibit the unfounded practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.

“LGBT Canberrans are not sick or unnatural and we do not need to be ‘changed’, ‘cured’, ‘converted’, ‘healed’ or whatever term is used [to describe] practitioners’ harmful and outdated ‘conversion therapy'” Barr said.

The announcement has been welcomed by LGBTIQ+ rights advocate Chris Csabs, whose Change.org petition that calls for ned to conversion therapies has attracted over 60,000 signatures. Csabs said he was “giddy with excitement” at the news, given that he was subjected to treatments as a teenager when he lived in Canberra.

Alongside the legislation changes the government will also roll out an education program and community assistance programs to support the change.

The government also announced it would be making it easier for transgender people to change their details by making one single form that could be used to change sex and name details, currently it is two separate processes.

The ACT government will also continue to fund educational programs including the Safe Schools program and will bring in a central information hub to assist LGBTIQ+ people in finding essential information on government and community services.

The launch of the plan has coincided with new figures data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows that Canberra has the greatest percentage of LGBTI couples in country. While the census does not ask people about their sexuality, other questions do reveal if someone lives with a partner of the same gender.

Canberra has the greatest percentage of same sex couples living together followed by Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane.

OIP Staff


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