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News, Tasmania

Outrage over newspaper promoting anti-gay conversion

Advocates say a newspaper promoting anti-gay conversion practices being letterboxed in Hobart shows the need for legislation to deal with the issue.

Hobart residents have expressed outrage after receiving copies of Challenge, The Good News Paper, which features a gay men and a lesbian who say they have been ‘cured’ of their same-sex attraction and are now married.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome said the story’s premise was harmful.

“The ideology that says same-sex attraction is flawed and can be fixed has been long discredited, and it is deeply damaging for those LGBTIQ people coming to terms with who they are,” said Croome.

“Young LGBTIQ Tasmanians need support and affirmation, not these false and damaging claims dressed up as piety.

“Tasmania should follow the lead of Queensland and the ACT by passing laws dealing with conversion practices and their promotion.”

Local journalist Amber Wilson took to social media to express offence at the publication.

“Wow. What the actual f*** is the Challenge Good News Paper? It arrived in my (Hobart) letterbox today and it is truly offensive,” tweeted Wilson.

“Here is an article about a gay man who prayed the gay away and married to a ‘former’ lesbian. I think I need to write a letter to the editor.”

Conversion practices may range from counselling to corporal punishment in an attempt to force people to become heterosexual or cisgender.

Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory are the first Australian jurisdictions to pass legislation against anti-LGBTI conversion, a practice internationally denounced as both barbaric and ineffective.

Advocates have called for other states to follow suit with stronger laws focusing on conversion practices in religious settings as well as healthcare contexts.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is expected to launch an inquiry into conversion practices before the end of the year.

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