One political leader has shut down plans to potentially reintroduce gay and trans conversion therapy in the Australian state of Victoria. But LGBTI advocates are worried there are still many more proposed anti-LGBTI laws that migh slip through the cracks.
The conservative Liberal Party had planned to debate the conversion therapy policy at an upcoming state council meeting. The Liberal Party are currently in Opposition in Victoria.
Some party members pressured Opposition Leader Matthew Guy to allow a motion to discuss potential conversion therapy policy.
The proposed policy would allow healthcare professionals ‘to offer counselling out of same sex attraction or gender transitioning to patients who request it’.
Those pushing for the legislation want to introduce laws that will make sure ‘parents and young people are all given full information about the psychological harms of social, medical and surgical gender transitioning’.
It astounds me that sections of any modern political party could seek to push for gay conversion therapy for kids in the first place. Jurisdictions around the world are trying to ban this appalling practice – and with good reason. #springst #auspol
— Farrah Tomazin (@FarrahTomazin) April 16, 2018
Fairfax Media reported the push for the policy and today’s news that Liberal Party President, Michael Kroger, put a stop to the motion.
Make no mistake, this issue hasn’t gone away. It’s just been moved out of sight because it’s embarrassing for the extremist elements in the Libs to be exposed. https://t.co/xgVzQcWbpd
— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) April 16, 2018
Still plenty of anti-LGBTI motions
Even though conversion therapy plans were shut down there are still four anti-trans motions on the agenda.
Some of those motions include changing scaling back the definitions of gender identity to the binary of only man and woman.
Another motion wants to ban explaining to children that gender can be fluid. The policy would only allow children to learn that they gender they were assigned at birth is their sex for life.
The agenda also calls for the abolition of the proven effective Safe Schools program. It is an educational resource for parents and teachers about LGBTI topics.
Long-time LGBTI activist Simon Hunt aka Pauline Pantsdown said the four motions were full of lies.
‘These four anti-transgender motions, which are awash with outright lies and misinformation, comprise nearly 10% of total “ideas” put forward by members of a party who want to govern the state of Victoria,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘Who would vote for a party that sees attacking vulnerable minority groups as being one of its major priorities?’
The 4 anti-transgender motions remaining on Vic LNP conference schedule (# 9, 27, 28, 39) represent nearly 10% of the total motions put forward at the fed & state levels. Who needs a government that prioritises attacking minority groups at that level? https://t.co/1Jewx6vV0J pic.twitter.com/EiXP8aeOB6
— Pauline Pantsdown (@PPantsdown) April 16, 2018
Children need support not conversion therapy
Gay conversion therapy is a controversial practice which has been outlawed in many places around the world and even labelled as torture by some organizations.
In 2016 Victoria even vowed to crackdown on people practicing conversion therapy. The state created a Health Complaints Commissioner role. The Commissioner has the power to investigate or ban unregistered practitioners making unproven claims.
‘We have zero tolerance for any person purporting to be able to ‘convert’ gay people through medical or therapeutic means,’ Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said at the time.
LGBTI advocates came out swinging at the suggestion the Liberal Party might consider making conversion therapy legal.
The Parents of Gender Diverse Children is an Australian advocacy group. It released a joint statement with ‘Gender Fairy’ author Jo Hirst saying ‘children do best when their gender is affirmed and supported by their families and community’.
‘What we also know from research in this country is that children who are not supported and affirmed are at extreme risk of death by suicide, self harm, homelessness and poor mental health outcomes,’ the statement read.
‘With this in mind, it is deeply concerning that any government body or political party would even consider taking such a bold stand against world’s best practice and medical advice.
‘In light of this overwhelming body of evidence and advice we are at loss to understand what would motivate such a harmful and potentially damaging resolution.’