Australia: Federal Labor Pledges To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

The Labor Party has been praised by advocates for committing to tackle homophobic and transphobic ‘conversion therapy’ if elected, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has drawn ire for his attitude to the subject. National advocacy organisation Equality Australia said the activities that take place within the conversion therapy movement in Australia have been proven to be ineffective and harmful.

“Too many LGBTQ Australians from conservative faith communities continue to be told they are ‘broken’ and need healing,” said Nathan Despott, co-director of the Brave Network, a support and advocacy group for LGBTI people of faith. “The ‘conversion movement’ is fuelled by an unregulated counselling industry, sloppy definitions of ‘pastoral care’, and a culture of shame and secrecy.”

Advocates and survivors have been recommending a multi-faceted response to the issue that includes regulatory and legal responses, greater support for survivors, and efforts to raise public awareness of the issue and refute the messages behind the conversion therapy movement.

Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia and co-author of the landmark Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice report released in 2018, said: “It’s fantastic to see Federal Labor commit to playing a leadership role in tackling the lasting harm caused by these insidious practices in faith communities across the nation.

“We are pleased to see that their response incorporates the key recommendations in our report, and in particular the need to specifically prohibit these damaging practices. There is a role for both the federal and state governments to play in developing legislation, policies and programs to end the harm caused by anti-LGBT conversion therapy.” Read more via Star Observer