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News Opinion/Commentary

Education Union calls for NAPLAN to be scrapped

School students taking test in hall
Image: iStock

 

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is  under fire.

Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe has called for the program to be abolished:

NAPLAN has been plagued by a lack of credibility with teachers and parents for years. It is time for the Federal Government to scrap NAPLAN for good and replace it with a new sample – based assessment strategy that has students and teachers at its heart.

The purpose of NAPLAN

Across Australia, students sit for NAPLAN tests in Years Three, Five, Seven and Nine.

student writing
Image: iStock

The tests focus on a range of skills such as comprehension, spelling and grammar, creative writing and mathematics skills.

NAPLAN was around when I was at school. I remember taking it in Years Three, Five, Seven and Nine.

Teachers used NAPLAN results to assess students’ abilities. They could also see the areas students needed help.

From helping tool to competition

The invention of the MySchool website in 2010, made NAPLAN contentious.

Rather than teachers focusing on improvements and struggles of students, school reputation was the focus.

In 2016, a Sydney public school came under fire when a student was asked to stay home in fear that the student would drag the school average down.

The parent of the child received a letter from the school about the request. The excuse given was to avoid “stress” for the student.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) warns teachers not to exclude students.

Other recommendations from ACARA

On their website, ACARA endorses NAPLAN. Its recommendations for teachers and parents include:

  • Tell the students to do the best they can that day
  • Avoid cramming and coaching leading to the tests
  • Parents should ask teachers questions

ACARA and the media

The media have right to publish results by ACARA under Freedom of Information and Copyright Act 1968.

Any journalists who wish to report on results are responsible for gaining copyright clearances.

NAPLAN could have merit

I’m not an educator, teacher or education researcher. I took the NAPLAN tests in Years Three, Five, Seven and Nine.

When I sat for NAPLAN, I was average. One of my biggest weaknesses was comprehension and creative writing was my strength. I think that’s an accurate presentation of me, especially throughout school.

My primary school and high school didn’t worry or emphasise on results. It wasn’t a competition. The aim was to see where students’ strengths were and where they needed help.

I’m not sure whether NAPLAN itself is a terrible tool. But I think it’s original purpose is lost.

I think the MySchool website should be abolished. That’s when issues seemed to start.

NAPLAN’s focus should be on helping children in English and Mathematics. Any areas students struggle in should ne addressed.

NAPLAN shouldn’t be about the egos of schools. Unfortunately, I think what NAPLAN’s become.

Bring back NAPLAN’s original intent. Then maybe it could benefit ALL teachers and students.

 

What are your views on NAPLAN? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Aromantic: short and sweet explanation

Aromantic pride flag
Image: iStock

About ten years ago, there was  a mini – explosion in aromantic and asexual awareness in the media.

MamaMiaCleo Australia and Ten’s The Project all ran stories about asexual and aromantic people. Of course, they had their detractors.

Now, aromantic people are in the spotlight. This is in part because the Yarra council in Melbourne has placed the aromantic flag over Richmond, Fitzroy and Abbotsford town halls.

What is aromantic?

Think about this: Have you ever had a crush? Have you planned dates, romantic getaways and weddings with a loved one in mind?

Do you get butterflies or nerves, when you see or think of someone in particular?

Well, some people don’t. They don’t feel the ‘butterflies’ or the desire for another person to be their significant other. They are aromantic.

That’s the simplest way I can explain it.

Because romance and sex often go hand in hand in society, there can be confusion for asexual people. How do you define “romantic attraction” when it’s divorced (no pun intended) from sexual attraction?

Here’s what I think about it. Romantic attraction is when you want to take a relationship beyond what is considered friendship. It’s when you want to date, be in  a relationship and maybe marry.

To muddy the waters, some aromantic people are in relationships that, on the outside look like romantic ones. They are known as queer – platonic. So, my personal definition above may not fit everyone.

Grey zones

Romantic (and sexual) attraction can exist on a spectrum. There are a number of terms that describe this spectrum:

  • Grey – romantic: simplest definition is someone who find themselves not 100% aromantic. Someone who is grey – romantic may feel romantic attraction rarely, in only specific circumstances (more on that later), or may be too weak to act on.
  • Demi – romantic: People who identify as demi – romantic don’t form crushes on strangers. They only fall in love with people they are close with, such as a best friend.
  • Fray – romantic: This is a less known grey – romantic orientation. Accoriding to LGBTA Wikia,  fray – romanticism is the opposite to demi – romanticism. They lose romantic interest after a connection has formed.

This is by no means an extensive list. This is only a few terms that are used to describe experiences of people on the aromantic spectrum.

 

My plea to skeptics

I can already sense people rolling their eyes. But please consider this. Many aromantic and/ or asexual people often grow up feeling isolated and “broken”. Having these labels (and more) give people language for what they do (or don’t) experience.

Often, people on the aromantic/ asexual spectrum to fall into self doubt and self – loathing because they don’t fit in. That’s why aromantic and asexual awareness is important.

 

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Uncategorized

About Glycerine Queen Media in 2021

Glycerine  Queen Media logo

It’s been a month since ai posted on here. I didn’t mean to be silent for so long. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy and, if I’m honest, I’ve lacked motivation.

The plan for Glycerine Queen Media in 2021

This year, I’m thinking about going back to my original idea for this blog. That is, write a response to anything that grabs my attention, regardless of its source.

I want to write about issues. I want this blog to be a place where I can hopefully shed a light on things that are important. And I want posts to also spark discussion and debate.

Leaving culture wars behind

One wish I have for 2021 is to leave the culture wars behind. Repeatedly responding to LGBTQ+ issues is taxing. And I never know what to think about Black Lives Matter and have on.y limited knwledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

I’m not saying that I won’t write about these issues. I just want to do ot as little as possible.

This year, I’d like to talk about other social issues: childcare, mental health, education, etc.

Also, if you have anything you want me to look at and potentially write about, please tell me in the comments. I really want this blog to be more interactive. So please, don’t be shy.

So welcome for 2021. Stay safe.

Categories
Around the world

K-pop boy band shines a light on mental health

Image: iStock

K- pop boyband, BTS, made waves earlier this month. 

On 3 December, they performed at an online event. The concert was meant to start at midnight. The 4th was lead singer, Jin’s birthday. 

Two hours before midnight (Korean Time), Jin revealed a surprise new song, with a note on social media. 

The song, Abyss,  changed the course of the night, as it discussed mental health. 

Jin revealed that the sudden success of BTS’ English hit, Dynamite sparked burnout and a feeling of imposter syndrome. 

Jin’s anxiety got so bad that  he eventually sought professional help and guidance from his boss, Bang Si-hyuk. Si-hyuk encouraged Jin to put his feelings to music. 

 

Mental health in South Korea

South Korea is a powerhouse when it comes to health. It has one of the lowest obesity rates and one of the longest life expectancies.

However, according to Ozy, South Korea doesn’t fair well when it comes to mental health. In fact, it has one of the worst suicide rates among the OECD countries. Up to forty South Koreans a day die by suicide.

Stress is a massive issue among South Koreans. 95% claim to suffer it. For a third of people, it’s chronic. 

It’s not just young people that are facing a mental health crisis. 28% of older South Koreans are depressed. Unfortunately, few want to admit it and get help in fear of being seen as weak.

Alcohol use disorder is also rampant in South Korea. It has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world at fourteen shots per person per day. 

A number of factors may contribute to this worrying trend. These include pressure to be successful and geopolitical tensions with North Korea. 

 

It’s clear that mental health needs to be discussed. Much work needs to be done to break the stigma. Fortunately, BTS has started the conversation.

 

Musicians/ singers open up about mental health

Over the years, a number of  male singers/ bands have been open about mental health. 

Paranoid – Black Sabbath (1970)

According to Songfacts, Black Sabbath bassist and lyricist, Geezer Butler told Mojo magazine that Paranoid was about depression.

In the song, the protagonist is clearly paranoid. Butler admitted that he didn’t know the difference between depression and paranoia at the time.

If you look at the lyrics, hints of depression are obvious:

Finished with my woman cos she couldn’t help me with my mind

People think I’m insane cos I’m frowning all the time. 

And:

Make a joke and I will sigh 

And you will laugh and I will cry

Happiness I cannot feel 

And love to me is so unreal. 

 

I never cry – Alice Cooper (1976)

Alice Cooper has been very open about his mental health battles over the years. A number of his songs, including I never cry speaks about his battle with alcoholism.

How are you going to see me now deals with the fall out of his addiction on his family. 

In 2017, Cooper joined Canadian mental health campaign Bell: Let’s Talk. He spoke frankly about his battles with alcoholism and depression. 

He addressed his 1991 hit, Hey Stoopid, saying that it was written to discourage youth suicide. 

 

His Definitive Hits album has a number of songs where he addresses mental health struggles.

Alice Cooper Definitive hits CD
A number of Alice Cooper’s hits bring mental health into the spotlight.

 

Runaway train – Soul Asylum (1993)

The clip to the 1993 hit is well – known for raising awareness to missing children. However, lead singer, Dave Pirner has stated that the song is about his battle with depression. 

 

If this post has brought up any issues for you, please seek help. For Australians:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

If you are in immediate danger, contact 000 or other national emergency number.

 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary Uncategorized

Australian children face a mental health crisis

Mental health image of brain
Image: iStock

According to Natasha Bita in the Herald Sun, Australian children and teenagers are facing a mental health crisis. (Mental Health 360: Shocking rise in Aussie teens being medicated, 2 December 2020).

1 in 13 teens are taking antidepressants and/or other psychiatric drugs.

Health and youth experts claim COVID-19 is a factor to this worrying trend. 87,781 primary school – aged children and 134,439 teenagers were prescribed medications for various mental disorders over 2018/2019.

What diagnoses children are receiving?

Not surprisingly, anxiety and depression are major issues facing a number of children. What’s worrying is that primary school and preschool – aged children are also being diagnosed.

Yourtown chief executive, Tracey Adams told Herald Sun that domestic violence is exacerbating these rates.

Children are also being diagnosed with other conditions, including ADD/ ADHD, psychosis and conduct disorder.

The increase in conduct disorder diagnoses has surprised and alarmed me. How can more children be diagnosed? Is it over diagnosis; an accusation commonly aimed at ADD/ADHD?

Or is it something else? As I wrote before, alarms surrounding domestic violence have been raised. According to Better Health Channel, parental aggression (particularly from the father) and domestic violence are risk factors that can trigger the disorder.

Government response

To be honest, I think that the Federal and State governments have failed in this area. It’s too little, too late.

Only now has the Government offered Kids Helpline extra funding for fifty more counsellors. Why wasn’t enough support put in before the pandemic hit?

I think this exposes the great flaws in the Australian mental health system as a whole. There isn’t enough support for those who need it, but haven’t reached breaking point.

Parents play vital role

Psychologist and founder of Parentshop, Michael Hawton told Herald Sun that most anxiety in children is “learned”.

If kids are surrounded by parents who are highly rushed and speaking and behaving anxiously, it’s hard for them to not pick up on that.

He also suggested that parents teach children about facing problems head on rather than avoiding them. Emotional reactivity should also be minimised.

Blaming social media and anxious parents doesn’t solve the problem

Many commenters on the Herald Sun article have blamed social media (surprised?). But to me, the issue is much bigger.

There are obviously children and teenagers that need ongoing help. Some may need different therapies, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). There may be children that need to be removed from violent or abusive homes. Victims of bullies need support to have their self – esteem built back up.

Psychologists and/ or Masters qualified Social Workers need to be employed in all schools.

Also, I really do think the Australian mental health system needs an overhaul. Medicare is grossly inadequate in funding mental health.

The Australian mental health system seems to help two types of people: those who don’t need ongoing professional help. Or, the other extreme: those who are at high risk of harm or suicide.

Both State and Federal Governments have failed in dealing with psychological costs of lockdown and COVID-19. Counselling services should have been properly funded in the first place. It isn’t good enough.

Lastly, all mental health costs should be covered by the Government. If not through Medicare, through other means.

 

What are you thoughts? How can people with mental or behavioural conditions be helped?

 

 

 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Should the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair change? Here are my thoughts.

Treble clef on Australian flag
Image: iStock

Should we change the lyrics to Australia’s national anthem Advance Australia Fair?

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk  and New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berijiklian agree that we should.

The source of contention is the word “young” in the first verse:

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are young and free

(emphasis mine)

Berijiklian argues “young” ignores thousands of years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

People like Berijiklian want the word “one” to replace it.

 

However, Herald Sun columnist and Sky News Australia presenter, Andrew Bolt blasted the proposal.

But the NSWPremier’s plan to change the words “young and free” to “one and free” is a con. The people she’s trying to please don’t want us to be “one” at all.

He argued that the people pushing these proposals want more division, not unity.

Proposals in the name of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion

Over recent years, people have debated a number of proposals in the name of righting past wrongs.

Every year in January, the date of Australia Day (January 26) is hotly debated. 26 January highlights the arrival of British explorer, Captain Arthur Philip in 1788.

Some Aboriginal people find this as a tragic day. It’s the day that signifies the start of their displacement and destruction.

Similarly, more and more Caucasian Australians have joined the chorus for change.

The push to change the date has extended to social media. The hashtag #changethedate has trended over the years. Activist group, GetUp! has called for the date to be changed to May 8.

Issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

To be honest, I find a lot of this to be fluff. It will change nothing. Not on a fundamental level, anyway.

There are a number of  issues facing Indigenous communities. These include:

  • lack of educational opportunities
  • poorer mental health outcomes
  • crime and domestic violence

 

Discrimination and alienation

More Aboriginal people are opening up with their experiences of racism. Some have gone to the media with numerous examples of alleged discrimination they’ve faced in their lives.

Earlier this year, actor, Meyne Wyatt did a passionate monologue on ABC’s Q & A. Wyatt described security being suspicious of him, taxi drivers ignoring him and cashiers serving him last in stores.

 

Wyatt also spoke of the treatment of former Sydney Swans footballer, Adam Goodes. A then – 13 year – old called Goodes an ‘ape’. His actions in response was hotly debated. Many praised his actions. However, others condemned Goodes, repeatedly pointing out the girl’s age.

 

When Aboriginal people bring up either domestic violence or racism, they are immediately howled down. They can’t win.

 

Surely, a step in the right direction is to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak. Let them speak about the issues affecting them and their communities.

 

I’ll say it again. None of these issues will change if our anthem does.

 

What are your thoughts? Should the lyrics of Advance Australia Fair change? Does it matter to you either way? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary Uncategorized

Hugh Sheridan’s coming out and the complexity of human sexuality

Word Pride on little blocks
Image: iStock

Australian actor went public came out as… human.

He told Stellar Magazine why he took so long:

I’ve never felt I really knew who I was and I didn’t like the sounds of the labels that people were giving me, so I decided to say nothing.

The Packed to the Rafter’s star also talked about the pressure to keep his relationships with men a secret to make him seem ‘available’ to women viewers. This angered him.

When asked about his sexual orientation, The Packed to the Rafter’s star simply came out as “a human being”.

Love life and being outed by the media

Sheridan opened up about his attractions. As a child, Sheridan opened up about being bullied for being gay. Ironically, at the time, he claimed that he was in love with girls.

It wasn’t until he started he started his acting career that he first fell for a man. Unfortunately, the media caught on and rumours were spreading about his relationship. Sheridan said he felt outed. “It hurt a lot”, he explained.

He also exposed the catch 22 he and a lot of other LGBTQ+ celebrities risk: having to come out or thinking you’re ashamed of who you are.

Sheridan started the Renaissance Project, where people are invited to discuss issues of labels and identity.

On the issue of identity, Sheridan simply stated:

I believe labels are for clothes, not for people.

Sheridan’s coming out is met with support

There has been an outpouring of support for Sheridan. Many have written to him and thanked him. He’s also got love and support from other Packed to the Rafters co – stars.

Rebecca Gibney, who played his mother, Julie Rafter, penned an emotional note of support on Instagram.

I’ve loved this boy the moment I met him 13 years ago. He is one of the most joyful, open hearted, empathetic souls I have ever met and I couldn’t be more proud of his wonderful essay in the latest Stellar magazine where he talks about society’s need to label and how he has never fitted the labels that were given to him.

She concluded:

I’m so blessed to call you my friend. Well done for speaking your truth. Love you to the moon sweetheart.

 

Sexual fluidity: when coming out isn’t that simple

For a while, fluid sexuality has been researched and become public knowledge. University of Utah’s psychology professor,  Lisa M Diamond PhD did a study on women and sexuality. She discovered that women can go through numerous sexual experiences through different stages of their lives.

However it’s often assumed that men’s sexuality is largely static; either gay or straight. Male bisexuality is often erased and those who come out are often not believed.

And men without the need for a label? Well, you don’t really hear about it… until now. It turns out that complexity with sexual identity can affect people of all genders, including men.

 

I think Hugh Sheridan’s coming out is oositive. Not only are more LGBTQ+ people coming out in public, but it also shows that being unsure or without a label is also OK.

Categories
Culture Events

20 years on, Cathy Freeman creates a legacy of hope for young Aboriginal women

Australian flag and gold medal
Image: iStock

Tuesday, 15 September (AEST) marked twenty years since Sydney hosted the Olympics.

I was eleven when the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000. While I wasn’t really into sport, I knew that it was a major event. I even got enthusiastic about it.

Australia claimed a number of new gold medallists; joining the history books with former swimmer, Dawn Fraser and hockey champion Nova Peris. Swimmers like Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe won Australia’s heart as well as gold medals.

So did sprinter, Cathy Freeman.

Cathy Freeman inspires generation of young Aboriginal people

According to ABC Life, a number of Aboriginal women were inspired by Freeman’s success. Author of the article, Molly Hunt described Freeman as “a legend” that “forever changed the hearts of many young black people and the nation”.

Hunt, who was an aspiring runner herself, saw herself in Freeman.

Maddie Whitford said that she felt “proud” of Freeman’s success and that she was experiencing so much media attention.

Even though Jash doesn’t consider herself a ‘sports person’, she felt inspired by Freeman’s victory sprint:

I think it was so powerful when she had two of the flags because it reinforces the statement that, firstly, she is an Aboriginal woman, and that she won that medal, not only for Australia, but for her community.

I can appreciate the impact that Freeman’s win had on young Aboriginal people. It must’ve been great to see their heritage represented on the global stage.

Torch relay

The torch took off around the world, like it is every four years. 1500 people were involved in the Oceania leg of the relay. Freeman ran took the torch to Olympic Park in Sydney where Freeman ignited the Ring of Fire.

The beginning and end of the Australian torch relay was significant. Nova Peris – Kneebone started the relay, and Cathy Freeman ended it.

It was a spectacular coincidence; two Aboriginal women both started and ended the Australian Olympic Torch Relay. Aboriginal pride was there for all to see. I’m sure for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s an event that they’ll never forget.

400 m sprint

25 September 2000: The great moment – Cathy Freeman’s 400m sprint victory.

 

At 49:13 seconds, Freeman won gold. It was just short of the world (47:6 seconds) and the Olympic record (48:25 seconds).

Even though that was a monumental achievement, Freeman told the ABC that she was disappointment at her time. She thought she could do better.

 

The Sydney Olympics were a great chapter in Australian history. I’m sure it’s been etched in the minds of most Australians. Personally, I don’t think the 2000 Olympics have been repeated. Maybe it never will.

Media coverage 20 years on

I haven’t seen one negative article on Cathy Freeman. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that her victory wasn’t marred by politics.

The ABC, Alan Jones on Sky News Australia have expressed awe at what she achieved. It’s nice to see a news story (or history in this case), not be marred in controversy.

 

What are your memories of the 2000 Sydney Olympics? Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below.

 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Will toxic culture in the Church come to an end?

Image of Pope Francis
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Last Thursday (10 September), Pope Francis talked about the “divine” nature of good food and loving sex.

He told Italian writer and gourmet Carlo Petrini:

Pleasure derives directly from God, it is neither Catholic, nor Christian, nor anything else. It’s simply divine.

He was also critical of Catholics and Christians who were ‘over – zealous’ in the past in their condemnation of sex and eating.

That’s not to say Pope Francis is suddenly progressive. He still emphasised procreation. Meaning, he stuck to traditional Catholic doctrine.

That aside, does this signal change within the Catholic Church? Does it signal that Catholics and Christians can finally adopting a healthier outlook? I have doubts.

Unfortunately, it’s no secret Christian and Catholic churches have had issues when it comes to sex.

I believe toxic sexual ethics have allowed sexism, homophobia and even child abuse. Married Christians have suffered pain and dysfunction in their sex lives.

Meanwhile, too often, predators have infiltrated the Church. Often, they have climbed up the leadership ladder. They become untouchable. Male victims have been shamed by their sexuality. They wrongly think they may be gay because of the abuse. Obsession about virginity and ‘purity’ in the Protestant Church has left female victims feel dirty and broken.

Is this about to change? Unfortunately, Pope Francis didn’t go into such detail. I suspect not.

Emphasis on procreation

I guess it’s no surprise that Pope Francis mentioned procreation in his speech. Yes, procreation is often a result of sex. It is the goal for some couples.

What about non – procreative sex? What about sex (even in the context of a monogamous straight relationship) just for pleasure? Where does that leave single people? What about acts other than intercourse?

Of course, the marriage – only narrative is exclusionary. Single and LGBTQ+ people need a healthy sexual ethic too. And no, abstinence – only doesn’t work. Literally 99% of the population desire sex. They have physical urges. They have the emotional need for intimacy. These don’t just appear in a heterosexual marriage. This is where the Church has fallen short.

Singles and result of sexual shame

What about people who are single? They have sexual desires, too. Catholic and Protestant churches have been infamous for putting single people in impossible situations. Demonising masturbation and deliberately spreading misinformation about sexuality has had a disastrous effect on countless people.

Anxieties about the ‘dirtiness’ of sex don’t just disappear when someone is married. Both men and women have suffered sexual dysfunctions. Men have been unable to experience erections, while women have suffered severe pain.  This can make sex unbearable.

Protestant churches are most associated with purity culture. However, it wouldn’t surprise me that many Catholic couples have faced similar issues. In my view, Catholic teachings around sex have been equally toxic.

 

Both Catholic and Protestant Churches need a more scientifically accurate view on sexuality. It needs to include married and non – married people.People should have a healthy relationship with their bodies and sexuality. Now that’s ‘divine’.

What do you think about Pope Francis’ statement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Queensland becomes the first Australian state to ban conversion therapy

Bible held by rainbpw - coloured hand with cross in a rainbow - coloured background
Image: iStock

 

CW: LGBTQ conversion therapy. This content may be distressing to some readers

Last week,  Queensland has made a historical leap  and introduced laws against LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

It will be illegal for health professionals to suggest ‘therapy’ to change a patient’s sexuality or gender identity.

Medical practitioners suggesting or performing the practice can face up to eighteen months in jail.

Criticisms of the Bill

The bill has been criticised from both ends of the political spectrum. Of course, there is ‘concern’ about how it will affect the counselling of trans and gender diverse children – pushing the idea that children are forced to take hormones and surgery prematurely.

Other critics say that the bill doesn’t go far enough Anti – conversion therapy advocate, Chris Csabs expressed disappointment that only the medical community was targeted in the bill.

Csabs claimed that 90% of conversion victims have experienced the practice in non – medical settings.

It makes sense. All major medical and psychological bodies worldwide reject the notion that sexual orientation and gender identity can be ‘fixed’. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973.

Since then, conversion therapy has been condemned for LGB+ and trans youth.

Should conversion practices be illegal for religious communities?

The only context that ‘conversion therapy’ most likely happens is within religious groups. While churches like Hillsong has shied away from conversion practices  years ago, other organisations probably still do it.

There are most likely young LGBTQ+ people still at risk of being subjected to the harmful practice. Should this also be outlawed? Ideally, yes. But do you run the risk of pushing it underground? What if that makes the practice even more dangerous? What if physical abuse becomes apart of the ‘therapy’?

 

Ultimately, conversion therapy will only become a thing of the past when people realise that LGBTQ+ people can’t change. And that they shouldn’t have to. Conversion therapy will only become a thing of the past when LGBTQ+ people are welcomed and included in all aspects of society. That’s up to religious groups, families, schools and the medical communities.

 

Update

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has also seen a bill to outlaw conversion therapy.

The Sexuality and Gender  Conversion Practices Bill is targeted at not just medical practitioners, but also parents who push their children into it.

The bill differentiates between conversion therapy and counselling aimed at gender diverse youth before medical transition. The Bill allows the latter.

 

Another update

The ACT’s Sexuality and Gender Conversion Practices Bill has been passed. Vagueness has been cleared up.

Religious groups have also been assured that they won’t be penalised because of their views on sexuality or gender identity.

Let’s hope it works and that people will realise that LGBTQ+ people are who they are and can’t change that aspect of their identity. It’s honestly the only way that conversion practices will finally become a thing of the past.

If this post has raised any issues for you, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 

For people under 25, there is also Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.