ACL conversion therapy expert panel: the feminist

acl conversion therapy expert panel maureen young

Last week, Wendy Francis from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) organised a talkfest at Queensland’s Parliament House. Francis promoted her ACL conversion therapy ‘expert panel’ as unpacking ‘gay conversion therapy’. However, the ‘experts’ made scant mention of the advertised topic. In this special series, we look at the claims made on the night. The second speaker: Maureen Young IWD Brisbane/Meanjin.

Queensland Health Legislation Amendment Bill

Recently, Queensland Health Minister Dr. Steven Miles announced he would propose amendments to health legislation to ban ‘gay conversion therapy’. He described practices aimed at changing or suppressing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as immoral and unethical. His proposed ban will cover health professionals — registered or otherwise — and organisations providing health services.

The ACL ‘expert panel’ made scant reference to the advertised topic. Indeed, from their speeches, one might assume the Queensland Government was actually legislating to either encourage or compel young women who do not conform to gender stereotypes to transition gender.

Maureen Young, IWD Brisbane/Meanjin

Young described her organisation as “not the fun kind of feminists. We’re the women who say prostitution and pornography are harmful.”

Abortion rights

What Maureen Young did not say at an Australian Christian Lobby talkfest is more interesting. On Facebook, IWD Brisbane/Meanjin does not shy away from its support for abortion rights.

“We are the women who established women’s DV shelters, women’s rape crisis centres, women’s safe spaces, who fought for decades to win women’s abortion rights.

But the word ‘abortion’ never got a mention on this night.

Maureen Young read most of her speech well enough. However, she became uncomfortable and stumbled over her words as she explained her organisation’s alliance with the Australian Christian Lobby.

“Usually a feminist like me would… not… probably speak… at a… group on… ah… organised by Christians, but we consider this issue to be so important that we are willing to make alliances with people from all different… um… spectrums… political spectrums.”

No wonder! One suspects this marriage of convenience will prove… inconvenient. The supporters of the Australian Christian Lobby already struggle to reconcile themselves to their differing religious beliefs. But one thing that definitely unites them is their opposition to abortion.

An absurd premise

Young undermined any argument she subsequently made by basing her argument on a frankly absurd premise.

She claimed that ‘transgender ideology’ insists on transition for children who do not conform to gender stereotypes. This ‘transgender ideology’ apparently demands that a baby girl only be recognised as female once she develops a preference for the colour pink. Further, ‘transgender ideology’ identifies a kindergarten-aged girl who plays with trucks or a high school girl who excels at physics as trans men.

“This is the twisted logic of the transgender belief system. That the preference for the behaviours that are stereotypically associated with the other sex… mean you are in fact the other sex.”

Young must be the only person on the planet to believe that assigning colours, activities, preferences and behaviours according to sex or gender is anything but a heterosexual construct. “Transgender ideology’ had absolutely nothing to do with girls wearing pink and playing with dolls or boys wearing blue and playing with trucks. It had nothing to do with the fact girls once studied cooking while boys undertook woodwork classes.

That a girl excels at physics says nothing about her sexual orientation or gender identity.

Young asks, “Why should we believe that for a minority of us this gender non-conformity requires medicalisation to the extent that treatment must be mandated by law?”

We don’t Maureen. None of us.

Is she joking?

Surely she jests? No one other than herself ever suggested gender non-conformity required treatment of any kind. Sorry… No one but herself and the quacks who once attempted to make ‘tomboys’ conform to more stereotypical femininity.

The placard pictured below from the IWD Brisbane/Meanjin Facebook page seems to illustrate the organisation’s bizarre premise. “Trans the gay away. No way!”

There is sadly a country where this happens. The totalitarian Islamic regime in Iran criminalises homosexuality but subsidises dodgy treatment for ‘transgender’ people. Iranian lesbians and gay men undergo treatment, not because they are trans, but to save their lives in a country that executes people for their sexuality.


conversion therapy expert panel acl gay conversion therapy
Image: IWD Brisbane/Meanjin Facebook

This is not what feminists want

“This is not what we feminists want,” said Young about FTM transition.

“Not for our bright non-conforming girls. We want those girls and young women to take their rightful place at the forefront of industry and government knowing that they are valued and esteemed for the full range of their human character traits.”

Young doesn’t seem to get, it’s not about what she wants, or feminists want, or Christians want, or lesbians or gays or transgender people or anyone else wants.

It’s about the needs of the individual. It’s about the right of a human being to live as their authentic self, whatever their sexuality or identity. It is about not forcing people to conform to sexualities and identities others decide are legitimate.

She speaks of girls “knowing that they are valued and esteemed for the full range of their human character traits.” Yet she would choose to limit ‘the full range of their human character traits’ to what she believes suitable.

I don’t know why she felt so uncomfortable explaining her presence at an Australian Christian Lobby event. Her speech indicates she should fit in well with a mob who want to tell everyone else how to live.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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