NEW legislation introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly today (August 13) bans sexuality and gender identity conversion practices.
The bill will see the ACT Human Rights Commission handle complaints about conversion practices. Criminal offences will also be introduced for conversion practices directed at protected persons, and for the removal of a protected person from the ACT for the purpose of exposing them to conversion practices.
As part of the bill, protected persons are defined to mean “a child or a person who has impaired decision-making ability in relation to a matter relating to the person’s health or welfare”.
“The bill does not intend to infringe a person’s religion or impose criminal charges on medical professionals or psychiatrists providing legitimate services which relate to the free development and/or affirmation of one’s sexuality or gender identity,” says Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury says: “Canberra is an inclusive city where everyone has a right to be their authentic selves. Conversion practices are based on a bogus ideology that LGBTIQ+ people are ‘broken’ or ‘unnatural’ and need to be fixed. This could not be further from the truth.”
“These practices are abhorrent, dangerous and outdated. They can lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse – even suicide. Survivors say it can take a whole lifetime to undo the damage caused – if achieved at all,” he says.
“Transphobia and homophobia in all their forms have no place in Canberra.”
If conversations about conversion practices bring up strong feelings and questions, and you need someone to talk to, call: Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Westlund Counselling on 6257 2855.