Australian advocates welcome UK commitment to conversion therapy ban

Australian LGBTQIA+ advocates have welcomed the news that the UK will be bringing forward a ban on LGBTQIA+ conversion practices, as promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May.

UK PM Boris Johnson said his government would be creating legislation to end the “abhorrent practices which can cause mental and physical harm.”

Johnson’s government will host consultations with LGBTQIA+ communities and health professionals before writing the ban into law.

Tasmanian LGBTIQA+ equality advocates have welcomed the UK Government’s announcement that it will ban conversion practices, and have issued a call-out to Tasmanian survivors to form a network.

The UK Government announcement was made during the Queen’s speech at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday UK time.

“Attempts to ‘fix’ LGBTIQA+ people are medically discredited, psychologically harmful and must be outlawed,” Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome said.

“We welcome the UK Government’s announcement because it will increase momentum for change in Tasmania and across Australia.”

Late last year the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute called for public submissions on the issue and is currently considering the best legislative response to conversion practices.

During the recent state election campaign Labor and Greens said they support a ban on conversion practices while the Liberal Party said it is open to a ban.

Croome also called on survivors of conversion practices to contact Equality Tasmania, should they feel comfortable to do so.

“We are keen to form a network of Tasmanian survivors in order to provide peer support and also to help inform the campaign for law reform.”

“Survivors know best what harm conversion practices cause, what support other survivors require, and what is required to stop these practices.”

“We will be working closely with survivor groups interstate to ensure Tasmanian survivors have a safe place to seek support, tell their stories and advocate.”

Here in Australia the ACT, Queensland and Victoria have all installed bans on conversion practices of varying strength, garnering praise from conversion therapy survivors and proponents of the practice’s end.

In Western Australia, Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Roger Cook have indicated they stand against the practice, but no commitment has been made to outlaw the harmful procedures.

Despite no action from the McGowan Government, conservative groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby and Binary have already begun to rally against potential legislation that could outlaw conversion therapies.

Leigh Andrew Hill

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