James Parker says conversion therapy bans are akin to the Gestapo

Warning: This article contains references to sexual assault.

Perth based ex-gay advocate James Parker has spoken about the recent anti-gay conversion therapy laws that have been introduced in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory comparing them to the Nazi Gestapo, and the Stasi secret police – who operated in communist East Germany.

“What’s happening in Queensland with the Anna-stasi, and what we’re seeing in the ACT with the Gestapo under Andrew Barr, what’s happening now is they are turning round – these are people’s whose freedom’s I’ve fought for in the past – and now they’re not just taking away my freedoms but their taking away the freedom’s of young people I’m walking with.” Parker said on television this morning.

Appearing on the Sky News program Outsiders, Parker said the laws which ban conversion therapy also stop people who want help resisting impulses about their sexuality or gender incongruence from getting professional assistance, and claimed conversion therapy bans were now leaving young people feeling suicidal.

“Young people are feeling suicidal, and their anxiety has increased, because their therapy choices are being taken away from them.” Parker said.

Parker said he himself came out as gay in the 1980’s when he was a high school student, and he went on to be part of the “frontline of gay activism” in the United Kingdom. Parker said it was only after he went to psychological counseling that he was in able to address a wide range of issues in his life.

In a recently published piece for The Spectator magazine Parker says he was able to recover repressed memories about infantile trauma and sexual abuse he received as a child. He said being exposed to pornography during his childhood also had an effect. In a similar piece published at right-wing website Calronpool, Parker also outlined that he had been raped multiple times as teenager, and had also repressed these memories.

After addressing these issues Parker said he decided to leave his long-term homosexual relationship and go on to marry a woman and become a father.

Parker said laws which stop people from accessing counselling which allows them to explore underlying issues that might have affected their sexuality are “lock-down” laws that force people into an unwanted sexual attraction.

“I believe everyone should have the freedom to go into a therapeutic situation and make their own choices, the bottom line is this, people do change. I know literally hundreds of people here in Australia who’ve gone from being gay to straight, and I know others who have gone from being straight to gay. The bottom line is…are we about freedoms in this nation, are we about people being allowed to make their own genuine choices. That’s what the issue is here.” Parker said.

“Human sexuality is a very fluid journey and people need to have the freedom to be able to nip in and out of the therapy room, with insightful therapists, to be able to look at this. At the moment the door is being locked on the therapy room to anyone who wants to examine aspects of their human sexuality.

“There’s plenty of affirmation of people who go from straight to gay, but what is happening now is the door is being closed, and what is someone has got stuck and locked into an area that isn’t truly them. Well I’ve very very sorry but you’re now in lockdown for rest of your life.”

Host Rowan Dean, who is also the editor of The Spectator, responded to Parker’s comments describing them as “fantastic” and “insightful”.

Who is James Parker?

James Parker previously campaigned against marriage equality during the 2017 postal survey, and also campaigned against the Safe Schools program in the lead up to the last state election. He was also a founding member of anti-transgender organisation Binary, and has voiced his opposition to Drag Queen Storytime events.  He speaks regularly about his experiences of moving from a homosexual life to embracing Christianity, getting married to a woman and starting a family.

In 2017 Parker appeared on Christian radio station Sonshine FM and claimed that being gay had serious health implications. Parker claimed gay men were at risk of new strains of HIV, and super-gonorrhoea, while also experiencing higher rates of suicide and psychiatric challenges. Parker claimed gay men on average live twenty years less than their heterosexual peers.

During the interview on Outsiders this morning host Rita Panahi asked, “You’re not suggested that people who are gay all have some sort of trauma in their background or anything like that in their background are you?” It’s a question Parker failed to answer directly.

However back in 2017 during his interview on Sonshine FM he claimed many gay men had been sexually abused, but were often unaware that the abuse had occurred.

“Many men who I first worked with, I’d just casually bring up in conversation ‘any history of sexual abuse?’” Parker answered. “It might be four, five, six years down the line once they’ve done some real scratching beneath the surface and internal work and they discover their abuse.” The activist also argued that many gay men had emotionally absent fathers, citing Olympians Ian Thorpe and Tom Daley as potential examples.

It wasn’t revealed on the Outsiders program but Parker is also the founder of True Identity an organisation that describes itself as support for people addicted to pornography, survivors of sexual abuse, and people who want to reject their LGBTQ identity, and those who want to affirm their biological sex.

OIP Staff

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: 1800 184 527 and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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