group of doctors-conversion-therapySurvivors have welcomed a bill that will ban LGBTQA+ conversion practices in NSW.

The NSW government bill criminalises conversion practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and cause severe mental or physical harm.

It also provides redress to survivors through a civil pathway and makes it illegal to take someone out of NSW to undergo a conversion practice.

The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board can also disseminate information, conduct research and hold public inquiries about conversion practices.

“We stand with survivors in welcoming this bill and we urge all MPs to seize this opportunity to end these archaic and harmful practices which have already caused untold harm and have no place in modern Australia,” said Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown.

Years from now, history will remember those who voted to end these damaging practices, saving countless people from a lifetime of pain and, in some cases, saving lives.

Before the state election last year, both Labor and the Coalition committed to banning LGBTQA+ conversion practices. Legislation has already been passed in Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand, while Tasmania and South Australia are considering reforms. Queensland has a ban on conversion practices in health settings.

These practices deny the humanity of LGBTQA+ people and find no support among any medical or psychological professional association. Abuse dressed up as pastoral care or guidance is a breach of trust and power, and it’s time we put a stop to the natural and lasting harm conversion practices cause to vulnerable people in NSW.

Homosexuality was taken off the list of mental disorders half a century ago. Since then, well-intentioned people acting on ill-informed and outdated information have continued to cause harm to the very people they seek to save.

This legislation to protect vulnerable LGBTQ people is long overdue. We are not ‘broken’ or need ‘fixing’. This bill will save lives and make NSW a safer place for LGBTIQ+ people.

We understand that the Bill:

  • Defines LGBTQA+ conversion practices as those directed at an individual based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and seeking to change or suppress it.
  • Clarifies that LGBTQA+ conversion practices do not include appropriate clinical care genuinely facilitating an individual’s coping skills, development or identity exploration (including parents discussing matters with their children), religious expressions (including in prayer) that are not directed at changing or suppressing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Only criminalises intentional conduct that results in substantial physical or mental harm or which involves taking people outside NSW to engage in conduct that would otherwise be prohibited in NSW.
  • Puts in place a complaints mechanism so that people who suffer conversion practices can seek justice or orders preventing the practices from continuing.
  • Gives the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board powers to disseminate information, conduct research and hold public inquiries about conversion practices.