Tasmania’s Premier Jeremy Rockliff has said he will lead reforms in his state to ban dangerous LGBT “conversion” practices.
Last month, the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) released a report featuring the experiences of 40 survivors of the debunked and harmful practices which aim to change or suppress sexual orientation or gender identity. The report also made 16 recommendations for law changes to ban the practices in Tasmania.
“I support acting on the recommendations of the Law Reform Institute report,” Premier Rockliff told a parliamentary estimates hearing this week.
“The Attorney-General and I are working together on these matters. I will be leading the change.”
The Tasmanian Liberal leader said he’d spoken with survivors and would bring legislation to parliament after more consultation.
“I understand how much it has affected individuals to the detriment of their wellbeing, to put it mildly,” he said.
“It is clear to me as the minister for mental health and wellbeing that there needs to be change. I do take this very seriously.”
Conversion practices ‘religious whackery dressed up as therapy’
Tasmanian Greens MPs asked Premier Jeremy Rockliff the questions during the hearing and welcomed his commitment to the ban.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said “outdated, harmful and often barbaric” conversion practices “have no place in a modern, humane Tasmania”.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ causes profound harm to LGBTIQ+ people. It is homophobic, religious whackery dressed up as therapy,” she said.
“[The practices] tell LGBTIQ+ people there is something wrong with them, that their sexual and gender identity can be ‘cured’. This is traumatic to already marginalised people.
“A person’s sexuality is not a mental health condition. That must be reflected in law.
“All medical or psychological treatment must be based on evidence and science, not dogma.”
Victoria, Queensland and the ACT have previously banned conversion practices.
The TLRI report said evidence showed “conversion practices are happening in Tasmania, they have caused severe harm to people subjected to them and are a continuing risk.”
Gay conversion survivor underwent terrifying ‘exorcisms’
Survivor Glenn Worrell recently told QNews.com.au about his experiences undergoing conversion practices for 21 years.
Worrell said three “terrifying” exorcisms and committing to a life of celibacy failed to change his sexual orientation and led to a breakdown.
He hoped the Tasmanian report would help Christian communities recognise the damage conversion that practices perpetuate.
“My biggest regret is that I wasted the best years of my life on such a futile exercise,” he said.
Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome also welcomed Premier Rockliff’s commitment to a ban.
Croome said recent studies have shown that 1 in 20 LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians had undergone formal conversion practices.
Those that had are three to four times more likely to have PTSD and attempt suicide as a result, he said.
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