Other pieces of pro-LGBTQ legislation are also planned if they win in May’s federal election.
The Australian Labor Party has pledged to introduce pro-LGBTQ legislation if they win the country’s federal election, including banning the discredited practice of ‘conversion therapy.’
Other pieces of planned legislation include introducing a dedicated LGBTQ human rights commissioner, an additional $10 million worth of funding for HIV treatment, and to amend laws to better protect trans and intersex workers.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in order to create the policy banning ‘conversion therapy’ the party would work with survivors of the practice.
Speaking to newsGP, Dr. Fiona Bisshop, a GP with an interest in LGBTQ health, welcomed the move. Referring to stories that her patients have told her, she said: “Some of the stories that they’ve told have been quite horrific in terms of the long-term cost to their mental health, to their relationships with their family, to their ability to have relationships, to their self-esteem.
“People have been told that they’ve got a mental illness. They’ve been told that they can be cured, which is a lie, and is extremely damaging to them.”
She added: “It basically destroys you as a person.”
Last year, a report found that 10% of LGBTQ Australians were at risk of undergoing ‘conversion therapy.’ The report found there were still ten organisations in Australia and New Zealand that were advertising the practice, and that it originated from conservative Christian communities during the 1970s.
The report looked in-depth at the experiences of 15 different people who underwent some form of ‘conversion therapy’. One respondent, known only as Mary, spoke about her experiences during the 1980s.
She recalled being subjected to ice baths while people prayed over her, or being chained to her bed and having electrodes attached to her labia.
Anna Brown, the legal director of the Human Rights Law Centre said: “The conversion movement’s activities are proven to be ineffective and harmful. Telling someone they are broken or sick because of who they are is profoundly psychologically damaging.”
She added: “We urge governments across the country to respond to this harm, particularly the acute vulnerability of children and young people subjected to conversion practices without consent.”