Future medical professionals stand against conversion therapy

To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHoBIT), the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) have voted unanimously to support survivors of LGBTIQ+ conversion therapy.

National Australian student medical societies voted in favour of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE) Survivor Statement at AMSA’s National Council over the weekend. The association is the peak body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, which includes the AMSA Queer Project – an initiative that promotes queer health education across Australian Medical Schools.

The SOGICE statement, devised by survivors of harmful LGBTIQ+ conversion therapy practices, and endorsed by LGBTIQ+ advocates and people of faith, calls on the Australian Government to join international jurisdictions such as Brazil, Ecuador, Taiwan and states of the USA in intervening against conversion practices.

The SOGICE statement recommends a national inquiry into conversion therapy in Australia, regulatory enforcement of directives from Australia’s peak psychological and health bodies that prohibit the practice, public health campaigns warning against the dangers of LGBTIQ+ conversion attempts, protections for young Australians, tighter regulations and funding for LGBTIQ+ and mental health organisations to support survivors and boost awareness.

“The SOGICE Survivor Statement and its recommendations represent an important set of steps towards stopping the practice of conversion therapy and ensuring adequate support is provided for survivors,” AMSA President Daniel Zou said of the decision.

“Affirmation of this statement shows our continued support for the Queer identifying community and the need for strong government actions on issues such as gender conversion therapy.”

AMSA’s Queer National Coordinator Anthony Copeland adds that AMSA’s unanimous agreement shows the organisation’s strong commitment to prioritise harm prevention.

“We will continue to advocate with survivors of these practices and call for more action by the government.”

The SOGICE statement has also been affirmed by high profile LGBTIQ+ advocacy and health organisations, including Amnesty International Australia, ACON, Thorne Harbour Health and PFLAG.

A change.org petition calling for a ban on conversion therapy in Australia, launched by conversion survivor Chris Csabs who featured on SBS’ Christians Like Us, has reached over 65,000 signatures online.

Leigh Andrew Hill

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