Calls for WA government to commit to outlawing conversion therapy

Survivors of LGBTQIA+ conversion practices have welcomed calls by the WA Greens for Western Australia to enact legislation against it.

Upper House Greens MP, Alison Xamon, signaled recently that the issue needs to be addressed locally in the wake of other states moving ahead with bans and criminal penalties.

Nathan Despott, from survivor group Brave Network, said Queensland and the ACT have both recently passed laws against conversion practices, while Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria were all looking at doing the same.

“The national momentum on this issue means that WA is in a position to learn from the pros and cons of Bills in other states and to produce the best legislation in the country,” he said.

Survivor groups had slammed the Queensland legislation as “useless” because it did not cover religious and informal settings where the overwhelming majority of practices occur.

In contrast, SOGICE Survivors and Brave Network were positive about the ACT model, particularly its breadth of protections, giving it “7 out of 10”.

“The ACT Government listened respectfully to survivors’ deep analysis of this complex problem. As a result, it has passed a powerful piece of legislation. The opportunity is forming for the WA parliament to lift this benchmark even higher and aim for 10 out of 10,” Despott said.

Chris Csabs from Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE) Survivors, said WA could set a gold-standard with anti-conversion legislation if it also addressed the ideology behind it.

“The false claims at the heart of conversion practices are grounded in pseudoscientific concepts thoroughly rejected by Australia’s peak psychological health bodies.”

“It’s not just the conversion practices that cause harm, but also the fraudulent, damaging and misleading claims behind them, causing LGBTQA+ people to view themselves as ‘broken’ and needing to change or suppress their identity,” he said.

Brave and SOGICE Survivors have offered to support the WA Greens in their advocacy and are calling on the McGowan Government to commit to reform before the 2021 state election.

Back in 2018 WA Health Minister Roger Cook voiced his opposition to conversion therapy practices, and said there needed to be a tighter set of standards for counsellors, and health professionals.

OIP Staff


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