Push to reintroduce conversion therapy for youth in Victoria

Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy is reportedly under pressure to endorse a push to reintroduce gay conversion therapy for youth in Victoria.

The Andrews Labor government made history when it became the first jurisdiction in Australia to outlaw therapies the aim to make gay youth heterosexual, but Liberal leader Matthew Guy is being asked to repeal those laws if he wins the next Victorian state election.

The Age have reported that a branch of the Victorian Liberal party, linked to conservative federal MP Kevin Andrews, is pushing for a policy position on the issue.

The motion to be heard at a this month’s state council meeting calls for health practitioners to be allowed “to offer counselling out of same sex attraction or gender transitioning to patients who request it”. The group also want laws which would ensure “parents and young people are all given full information about the psychological harms of social, medical and surgical gender transitioning”.

The motion from the Liberal party’s  Menzies-Warrandyte will be debated at the party’s meeting on April 28 and 29.

The group also want to bring in legislation to stop medical professionals from claiming that puberty blocking drugs, gender changing hormones and gender reassignment surgery as being “safe” or “reversible”.

The party will consider the proposal alongside many others put forward for discussion including a call for the Commonwealth Sexual Discrimination Act to be rewritten to include the phrases “man” and “woman” in the place of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”.

There is also a proposal to remove the Safe School anti-bullying program from all Victoria schools, and instead make it impossible for teachers to suggest that person’s gender may be different from their biological sex or that people can transition.

Dale Park, the co-convener of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has urged the Liberal leader to reject the proposals.

“The idea of counselling someone out of same-sex attraction is very concerning,” Park told The Age.

While Victoria is the only Australian state to ban conversion therapy for minors, several US states have brought in legislation to limit the practice.

This week a bill in Hawaii moved forward and looks likely to become law in the near future. While Maine has also just passed a similar bill. Nine US states currently outlaw the practice with 19 others considering bringing in legislation.

In recent years many high profile organisations that previously championed conversion therapy have closed their doors with some admitting that they “got it wrong”.

Critics of the bans have described the legislation as “you must stay gay” laws and argued that many people who are same sex attracted or gender diverse are the results of trauma and sexual assault.

OIP Staff



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