Queensland conversion therapy ban slammed as ‘ineffective’


chris csabs queensland government conversion therapy
Photo: SBS

LGBTIQ advocates have panned Queensland’s laws criminalising harmful LGBTIQ “conversion therapy” for not going far enough.

Last week, the Queensland government passed a bill banning health service providers from “attempting to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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Providers found using the outlawed “conversion” methods would face penalties of up to 18 months in prison.

“Expert bodies around the world strongly oppose the use of conversion therapy. It’s time to send a clear message that it’s unacceptable,” Health Minister Steven Miles said.

But conversion therapy survivor turned campaigner Chris Csabs (pictured) said Queensland’s legislation falls short.

“This legislation will not provide protection in the vast majority of cases, nor will it get to the root of the problem,” he said.

He said only a small handful of the survivors of conversion practices over the last decade have reported experiences within formal health settings.

“Conversion ideology and practices occur most often in informal – non-therapeutic – settings. [These are] usually in religious communities under the guise of ‘pastoral care’.”

PFLAG+ spokesperson Shelley Argent said while the Queensland law may be an Australian first, it will be “utterly ineffective”.

“This legislation tries to solve what is largely a non-problem while leaving the real problem untouched,” she said.

“Given that almost all conversion practice is undertaken in informal religious settings and not by health professionals, this new law is next to useless.

“This is like passing a law to ban cigarette advertising but excluding tobacco companies.”

Other Australian states must adopt stronger ‘conversion therapy’ laws

Just.equal spokesperson Brian Greig said the state government had enacted the laws “in a rush” ahead of the upcoming state election.

He warned the “weak” model adopted in Queensland capitulates to the “religious right” and mustn’t set a national precedent.

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“This legislation effectively includes a religious exemption, which completely undermines its purpose and misses the target,” he said.

“The message sent by the legislation is that informal, religious conversion practices are still okay and can be inflicted with impunity.”

Last week, the ACT Government introduced its own legislation to ban “conversion therapy” on children.

Under the proposed laws, people would face fines of up to $24,000 and 12 months jail for performing a “sexuality or gender identity conversion therapy” on a child or vulnerable person.

More and more countries and jurisdictions around the world are introducing laws banning dangerous “conversion therapy”.

Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany have introduced various bans outlawing the practices. Twenty states in the USA have also enacted bans.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.