LGBTIQ+ advocates give ACT conversion therapy ban ‘7 out of 10’

LGBTIQ+ advocates and conversion therapy survivors have welcomed the ACT’s ban on conversion practices, which passed the Legislative Assembly yesterday.

The ACT has become the second Australian jurisdiction to address the issue, following Queensland’s legislation earlier this month.

Spokesperson for LGBTIQ+ advocacy group just.equal and Canberra resident, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said the ACT’s legislation is ‘far better’ than Queensland’s, but still fell short of what survivors are asking of our lawmakers.

“The ACT legislation covers religious and informal settings which the Queensland legislation does not,” Hinton-Teoh said.

“This is a vast improvement given that religious and informal conversion practices are the most common.”

“The ACT legislation also focuses on the intent of the practitioner and gives broad investigative powers to the ACT Human Rights Commission.”

Hinton-Teoh and just.equal echoed concerns from conversion therapy survivors and LGBTIQ+ advocates raised after the passing of Queensland’s legislation, which does not cover practices performed by religious organisations in informal settings.

“On the downside, the ACT legislation doesn’t properly address therapeutically false, damaging and misleading claims; referrals and advertising related to conversion practices; and attempts to suppress sexual orientation and gender identity

“Overall just.equal welcomes the ACT legislation as a step forward and rates it as 7 out of 10.”

“With Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania all now looking to ban conversion practices over the next couple of years, there is the opportunity for even better and more comprehensive legislation to evolve in the wake of Queensland and ACT experience.

“just.equal is calling on other states to build on the existing legal frameworks now in place and to lift the benchmark higher to thoroughly ban conversion and suppression practices.”

Fellow national advocacy group Equality Australia have also welcomed the passing of the Bill, describing the move as a “pathway to inclusion and healing.”

“While no law can fix a complex social problem on its own, this law represents is an important step along the way to ending the harm caused by these damaging practices.” said Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown.

“The law must be met with redress and support for current survivors, and investment in programs to build awareness of the harm caused by conversion therapy so we can finally end these damaging practices for good.”

“A two year statutory review will mean that the effectiveness of this law can be monitored, to ensure it is working as intended. It will allow communities to monitor the law to ensure it has properly addressed any advertising or promotion of conversion practices, and prevented practices that force people to suppress who they are.”

“LGBTQ people are whole. They are perfect as they are, and deserve to live with the dignity and respect afforded to everyone.”

Chris Csabs from Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE) Survivors adds that “in passing this law, the ACT government has sent a strong message that conversion practices, whether performed by a health professional, a religious leader or any other person, are not to be tolerated.”

Isabel Munford, Chair of the LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council says the is a powerful message that LGBTQ people are members of our community who are worthy of protection and inclusion just as they are.

“We welcome this legislation and look forward to working with the government and survivor groups to ensure that the implementation of these protections is effective and meaningful for our communities.”

OIP Staff

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