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.
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.
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.
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