Tasmanian LGBTIQA+ equality advocates have issued a call-out to Tasmanian survivors of conversion practices to form a peer network, in the wake of the UK Government’s announcement that it will ban the practices.
The UK announcement was made during the Queen’s speech at the opening of Parliament earlier this week.
The Queen stated that measures would be taken to “address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy”, according to The Washington Post.
Then-Prime Minister Theresa May promised in 2018 to ban the practices, which have been condemned by health experts globally as both cruel and useless.
“Attempts to ‘fix’ LGBTIQA+ people are medically discredited, psychologically harmful, and must be outlawed,” said Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome.
“We welcome the UK Government’s announcement because it will increase momentum for change in Tasmania and across Australia.”
Late last year, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute called for public submissions on the issue and is currently considering the best legislative response to conversion practices.
During the recent state election campaign, Labor and The Greens said they supported a ban on conversion practices, and the Liberal Party said it was open to a ban.
Other Australian states have already begun introducing laws against conversion practices.
Croome called on survivors of conversion practices to contact Equality Tasmania.
“We are keen to form a network of Tasmanian survivors in order to provide peer support and also to help inform the campaign for law reform,” he said.
“Survivors know best what harm conversion practices cause, what support other survivors require, and what is required to stop these practices.
“We will be working closely with survivor groups interstate to ensure Tasmanian survivors have a safe place to seek support, tell their stories, and advocate.”
– Have you been part of a faith community where you were told that you were broken, disordered, or in need of healing because of your gender or sexual identity?
– Have you been offered prayer, counselling, pastoral care, or rituals that seek to change or suppress your sexual or gender identity?
– Have you been part of a formal or informal faith-based program that tried to engage the ‘reasons’ for your gay, bi, lesbian, trans, queer, or ace identity or ‘support’ you to live as a straight, cisgender person?
– Equality Tasmania is working with Brave Network and SOGICE Survivors to develop a safe, confidential space for peer support for Tasmanian survivors. The space is closed, private, and facilitated by survivors. Advocacy, law reform, and social change will be three of the broad goals of the group, but safety and support are the top priorities.