19 March 2024

NSW Government looking to ban 'traumatic' LGBTQ+ conversion practices

| Jarryd Rowley
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two politicians at press conference

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park and Premier Chris Minns have presented a bill to Parliament banning LGBTQ+ conversion practices. Photo: Ryan Park Facebook.

The NSW Government introduced a bill this week to ban harmful LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

The new bill was a key commitment of the Labor Party in the lead-up to the 2023 state election and according to NSW Premier Chris Minns, the decision will help save lives.

“Every person in NSW deserves to be respected for who they are and that’s exactly what these new laws will do,” Mr Minns said.

“It is intolerable that we have a situation in NSW where children can be told something is wrong with them and that they need to be fixed.

“I’ve personally met with survivors of conversion practices and know how important it is that we put an end to this.”

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According to the NSW Government, conversion practices, which can include so-called “conversion therapy” and suppression practices, are formal or informal practices based on the false ideology that LGBTQ+ people have a ”disorder” or require treatment. Evidence shows that conversion practices are dangerous and damaging.

The Department of Communities and Justice and the NSW Ministry of Health were tasked with jointly leading a working group that consulted extensively with a range of stakeholders.

These stakeholders included members of the health, education, legal and government sectors, faith and multicultural organisations, LGBTQ+ community advocates and victim-survivors, academics, and researchers, as well as others nominated by these stakeholders as having relevant views or expertise.

Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council Penny Sharpe said the LGBTQ+ community was fine the way it was there was no need for harmful practices.

“There is no place in NSW for harmful conversion and suppression practices,” she said.

“Thank you to advocates from the LGBTQ+ community, in particular, victim-survivors who have told their stories so that others will no longer be harmed.”

Attorney-General Michael Daley added to the importance of banning harmful practices by highlighting the trauma they can cause.

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“Conversion practices are known to cause significant ongoing trauma because they try to force LGBTQ+ people to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he said.

“We have carefully considered this legislation, developing it thoughtfully following extensive consultation to ensure that it strikes the right balance between protecting vulnerable communities as well as legitimate religious and cultural practices.

“The government does not intend to ban the teachings of a religious leader or expression of a religious belief through sermon.

“We have been guided by a core principle – that all people across NSW should be able to live free of practices that cause harm and be protected by evidence-based protections which the community expect, deserve and can rely upon.”

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