A major blow to right-wing religious extremism has taken place. Tasmanian Law Reform Institute has handed down its report on conversion therapy. But before we get into that I would first like to thank Tess from Engendered Equality (which aims to end family violence). Please support their efforts. Below is the copy of the email I was sent about this win for everyone to read. It just adds more to the already overwhelming stack of evidence and groups that are speaking out against this horrific act of violence. Please be kind in understanding that it is driving me nuts not to correct the errors in the email. But I don’t want to nitpick this email just to make it look better forcing me to add an [sic] at the end. So please don’t send me an email telling me about the errors in this post (yeah you know who you are…)
Today the Tasmania Law Reform Institute released its Final Report and recommendations on law reforms to address the risks and harms caused by sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices —‘conversion practices’ for short. I attach a copy for your information.
Conversion practices aim to change, suppress or eradicate people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They would include, for instance, subjecting a person to ‘therapy’, ‘counselling’, or ‘treatment’ to change who they are attracted to, or how they feel about or express their gender to others.
Contemporary science has discredited and disproved conversion practices and the beliefs that motivate them. The mainstream medical consensus is that:
- LGBTQA+ attributes are not faults or dysfunctions;
- Conversion practices are not safe or effective;
- Conversion practices involve clear risks of severe and lasting harm to people subjected to them.
The Institute received and accepted evidence that conversion practices are happening in Tasmania, that they have caused severe harm to people subjected to them and that they are a continuing risk to LGBTQA+ Tasmanians. The Institute recommends that Tasmanian law is reformed to more appropriately deal with these harms and risks.
The Institute’s recommendations involve amendments to health and anti-discrimination law and related laws to:
- Provide a clearer and more binding legal framework for existing professional health guidelines relating to the care and treatment of conditions relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. Guidelines would be set by a chief public health officer and be updated to reflect best health practices and evidence over time. For instance, declared guidelines would specify which medical professionals can assess and treat conditions like gender dysphoria and what procedures they must use.
- Stop unregistered and unqualified people from purporting to assess, diagnose or treat other’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a fault or dysfunction. For instance, convincing someone that they are mentally ill because they are attracted to someone of the same sex.
- Limit the harm caused by misinformation that aims to convince people conversion practices are safe, effective and necessary. For instance, circulating false and misleading pamphlets promoting pseudo-medical practices which are known to cause harm to vulnerable LGBTQA+ people.
In total, the Institute made 16 recommendations about how to best achieve these regulatory outcomes, sanction misconduct, provide redress to victims and ensure law reforms are effective and sustainable.
The Institute’s recommendations do not affect:
- Legitimate health care conducted by appropriately qualified health professionals in line with declared standards;
- Statements, expressions of faith, philosophical or personal views about sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Public acts done in good faith for academic, artistic, scientific or research purposes or any purpose in the public interest; or
- Supportive care, guidance, or mentoring of a child by a parent or guardian.
These rights and duties are protected by both existing laws and new exceptions and defences recommended by the Institute.
This Inquiry was initiated by a community reference and funded by the University of Tasmania in 2019. An Issues Paper was published in 2020, which received hundreds of community and stakeholder responses.
The Final Report was prepared by TLRI researchers with assistance from an advisory group made up of experts from law, bioethics, medical and health sciences. Representatives of the SOGI conversion practice survivor groups, and faith communities contributed to early stages of the project, but did not have input to the Final Report or recommendations. The Institute also conducted a range of continuing consultations with peak medical and public bodies.
The Final Report can also be accessed at www.utas.edu.au/law-reform
Let’s take a couple of quick seconds to talk about a few things that do stand out. First, this is not a quick read there are over 300 pages with the citings at the end of it for evidence’s sake. In the above blurb there was Intersex (I) left out of the LGBTQA this is not the case in the writ. Those with this condition are mentioned and they are addressed in the body as a whole. It does not “Bible Bash” but instead draws attention to the pseudo therapy and away from any religion. I also want to draw attention that there has been a statement from a religion that has said that if the Government places a ban on this pseudo-therapy they will break the law [Link]. To be honest, they are not alone in doing this, some religious groups hide the fact that they are performing it. By linking their pray-it-away approaches with other issues such as alcoholism and drug addiction. This begs to question if banned by law does the police have the power to investigate the crime and pass on issues to the Department of Public Prosecution.