New research reinforces urgency to end conversion practices

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

New research from the University of Waikato showing a link between conversion practices and negative mental health for trans and non-binary people reinforces the urgent need to pass the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill.

“Aotearoa should be a place where no matter who you love or how you identify, you are accepted. No one should be allowed to force people to change who they are,” says Green spokesperson for Rainbow Communities Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

“This important research confirms that conversion practices are still happening. Not in the past, but right now.”

“Action is needed to prevent any harm caused by conversion practices wherever it occurs, including within health, religious, family and community settings,” says Dr Jaimie Veale, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Director of the Trans Health Research Lab at the University of Waikato.

“This research also highlights the importance of making sure trans and non-binary people have support networks in place. Suicide attempts doubled where there was unsupportive whānau. Those who has experienced family rejection were also more likely to say they had been exposed to conversion practices,” says Dr Kerekere.

“Many submitters to the Justice Select Committee noted concerns about their child coming out or wanting to transition. We support the statement by Senior Researcher, Jack Byrne, that “families and whānau need information and resources to feel confident to support their trans and non-binary family members.”

The Greens note this research coincides with the announcement that the 2023 Census will contain questions on sexuality, gender identity and diverse sex characteristics.

This will help provide important data that can be used to inform policy decisions and budget allocations. If the Government has the data then it can make sure services are directed where they need to be.

Work also continues on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Registration Bill, which will allow trans, intersex and non-binary people to self-identify on their birth certificate.

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