Government to ban LGBTIQA+ conversion practices in WA

  • Government responds to Parliamentary Inquiry into the Esther Foundation and unregulated private health facilities
  • WA to criminalise LGBTIQA+ conversion practices
  • Accredited health professionals who provide lawful and ethical care will not be included in the ban
  • The McGowan Labor Government will move to criminalise practices that seek to change or suppress an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

    The announcement follows the tabling of the Legislative Assembly’s Education and Health Standing Committee’s report into the Esther Foundation and unregulated private health facilities.

    Conversion and suppression practices are formal and informal practices that are based on the ideology that LGBTIQA+ people have a disorder and require treatment. They can include teachings, counselling, spiritual care activities, or other psychological or medical interventions.

    The Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, and New Zealand have enacted legislation that prohibits conversion and suppression practices, and it is expected that Tasmania will also pass legislation prohibiting conversion and suppression practices.

    Accredited health professionals who provide lawful and ethical care will not be included in the ban and are properly regulated through their professional bodies.

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “This Government has a strong record in supporting LGBTIQA+ people in WA and is opposed to attempts to forcibly change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

    “Not only are conversion and suppression practices ineffective but they undermine the fundamental value of personal dignity and have long term negative impacts on the health and mental health of LGBTIQA+ people in our community.

    “Whilst the Government is supportive of a ban on these harmful practices, we believe that accredited health professionals with relevant expertise, who provide healthcare in accordance with the law and their ethical obligations should be able to provide care for people, particularly young people.”

    As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:

    “Conversion therapy remains a problem in some Australian religious communities.

    “Evidence from survivors and advocacy organisations has demonstrated ongoing harm and trauma caused by these practices, including long term mental illness and suicidality.

    “Whilst our reforms will prohibit conversion and suppression practices, the ban will not interfere with health professionals’ ability to provide suitable therapy and counselling to LGBTIQA+ patients without fear of being prosecuted.

    “It is appropriate that people are professionally supported when they explore their own concepts of self, others, and sexuality, and that they receive expert assessment, treatment and care when seeking to affirm gender through medical treatments such as hormone blocking therapies or surgical procedures.

    “We will consult with the LGBTIQA+ community and the medical profession as we draft the new laws.”

    As stated by Youth Minister Dave Kelly:

    “LGBTIQA+ young people should be respected for who they are and allowed to live their lives as they see fit, without being subjected to harmful and damaging conversion and suppression therapies that have no basis in science.

    “These conversion and suppression practices do serious damage to the health and wellbeing of the LGBTIQA+ community.

    “Its fabulous news that these practices will no longer be allowed in Western Australia.”

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