Opposition leader Bill Shorten is set to announce plans to outlaw gay conversion therapy if Labor are elected to government. A media release from a trio of Labor MP’s; Mark Dreyfus, Louise Pratt and Catherine King, announced the policy: “We will work with survivors and advocates on a range of strategies to end this insidious practice, including a nationwide ban.”
Practitioners of CT insist that LGBTIQ people can be “cured”. There is no valid scientific evidence to support this and the practice has been widely condemned by health professionals and by the Australian Medical Association.
“The techniques used by various CT practitioners include inflicting physical pain and emotional distress to coerce people into ‘changing’.” the MPs stated. The announcement has been welcomed by survivor groups and Equality Australia who say the practices that fall under the banner of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are ineffective and harmful.
Speaking on behalf of the Brave Network, a support and advocacy group for LGBTIQ people of faith, Nathan Despott said “too many LGBTQ Australians from conservative faith communities continue to be told they are ‘broken’ and need healing. 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.