NSW could be next to outlaw harmful ‘conversion therapy’

nsw parliamentary friends of the lgbtiq community rainbow flag conversion therapy new south wales parliament
Photo: courtesy of Alex Greenwich

A group of New South Wales MPs have said they are working on legislation to ban harmful “conversion therapy”.

Last week, the Victorian parliament passed legislation to ban the harmful and debunked practices.

The laws make it illegal to try and change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in Victoria.

Now NSW cross-party group Parliamentary Friends of the LGBTIQ+ Community want to follow Victoria’s lead.

Liberal MLC Shayne Mallard, Labor MLC Penny Sharpe, Greens MP Jenny Leong and Independent MP Alex Greenwich are part of the group.

In a statement, the MPs said there are “shocking accounts” of LGBTIQ people falling victim to dangerous “conversion” practices.

“Most stories go untold because they occur behind closed doors and are associated with feelings of shame and rejection,” the MPs said.

“[We] want those in the community affected to reach out, share their experience in a safe environment and help them outlaw the practice here.”

The MPs are reviewing the Victorian laws and want to work on their own legislation in New South Wales.

They want the laws to protect LGBTQI+ people “from the trauma and torment of conversion therapy” regardless of their background or upbringing.

People can confidentially share their story by emailing sydney@parliament.nsw.gov.au or contacting the MPs directly.

Calls for other states to comprehensively ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’

After the Victorian laws passed, LGBTIQ group just.equal called on other Australian states and territories to follow suit with comprehensive bans.

“Victoria now has a gold-standard law against conversion practices,” spokesperson Rodney Croome said.

“[The laws] will stop these cruel practices and save the lives of LGBTIQ+ people.

“We urge other states and territories to also follow Victoria’s lead.

“That includes Queensland’s sub-standard law, [which] fails to address conversion practices in religious settings where most practices occur.”

In his own home state of Tasmania, Croome said just.equal has also written to Premier Peter Gutwein to ask him to meet survivors.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is conducting an inquiry into the issue. The Institute will soon report to the state government.

Croome said in Victoria, survivors of “conversion” practices had consulted closely on crafting the “gold standard” and world-leading legislation.

“They have also awakened the nation to cruel, life-threatening practices that most Australians thought were in the past,” he said.

“Australia owes survivor advocates a debt of gratitude, not least for the lives their work will save.”

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