Thanks to the advocacy of survivors and allies, LGBTQA+ Victorians are now protected from harmful conversion practices.
On 4 February 2021 the Victoria’s Legislative Council passed the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill (2020).
The Bill protects LGBTQA+ Victorians from harmful change or suppression practices, otherwise known as conversion practices. The Bill puts in place new measures and penalties to protect LGBTQA+ Victorians from conversion practices, and makes it clear that LGBTQA+ people aren’t ‘broken’ and don’t need to be ‘fixed.’
Survivor advocates, supported by allies, have campaigned for years for the end of conversion practices in Australia. Over 35,000 Amnesty supporters have taken action calling for legislation to ban these practices. Hundreds reached out directly to Members of the Legislative Council, calling on them to support the Bill.
BREAKING: #LGBTQA+ conversion practices are finally banned in Victoria! Thanks to the advocacy of survivors of conversion practices and allies, LGBTQA+ Victorians are now protected from harmful conversion practices. pic.twitter.com/ozORvcSqMK
— Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) February 4, 2021
What are LGBTQA+ conversion practices?
For decades, conversion practices have been responsible for causing irreparable harm to LGBTQA+ Victorians.
Conversion practices, also known as Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE), are formal and informal practices which claims LGBTQA+ people are ‘sick’ and ‘broken.’
The conversion practices movement makes pseudoscientific claims that people can change their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Research by La Trobe University found in 2018 that religious practices are the most common type of conversion practices.
According to the Human Rights Law Centre Report ‘Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice’, 10% of LGBTQA+ Australians are at risk of conversion practices.
Time for the rest of the country to follow suit
Several Australian states and territories still have no laws banning conversion practices. Queensland and the ACT passed laws in 2020, but those laws require amendment to effectively protect LGBTQA+ Australians from the harm caused by conversion practices.
Together, we can pressure Australian governments to work with survivors groups such as SOGICE Survivors and Brave Network, to draft effective legislation to combat conversion practices.