Media release – University of Tasmania, 27 November 2020

The Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) is seeking public feedback on possible reforms to Tasmanian law to respond to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) conversion practices.

The TLRI today released its Issues Paper, ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Practices’ for public consultation.

The paper and online survey form can be accessed at  www.utas.edu.au/law-reform/conversion-practices

Submissions responding to this consultation may be sent to TLRI. All submissions must be received by 7 January 2021.

SOGI conversion practices are attempts to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity; to ‘convert’ someone who is homosexual or transgender into a heterosexual or cisgendered person (a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth). SOGI conversion practices are often based on pseudoscientific ideas that non-conforming sexual orientation or gender identity is the result of dysfunction, trauma or brokenness, and can be ‘healed’, suppressed or changed.

Medical and psychological practitioners have long accepted that LGBTQA+ status is not a physical or psychological disorder in any sense. Clinical studies indicate that SOGI conversion practices therefore do not work and also cause trauma and long-term harm to people exposed to them.

A range of peak national and international bodies have therefore declared such practices to be unscientific degrading, dangerous and contrary to human rights and have called for them to be banned.

National studies and survivor reports indicate that SOGI conversion practices are occurring across Australia.  As such, Queensland and the ACT recently passed laws to ban SOGI conversion practices, and Victoria is preparing to ban them.

The TLRI Issues Paper is the basis for a public discussion in Tasmania about whether and how Tasmanian law should also be reformed in response to contemporary evidence about the harm caused by SOGI conversion practices.

  • This Inquiry was initiated by a community reference from peak Tasmanian LGBTQA+ stakeholder bodies and representatives. Funding for the Inquiry was provided by the University of Tasmania in 2019.
  • The Issues Paper was prepared by TLRI researchers with assistance from an advisory group made up of experts from law, medical and health sciences and representatives of the SOGI conversion practice survivor and faith communities.

The TLRI is now calling for feedback from the community, government and stakeholders on the Issues Paper and possible reforms to Tasmanian law.

The Issues Paper and online survey form can be found at www.utas.edu.au/law-reform/conversion-practices

Responses must be received by 7 January 2021.


Media release – Equality, 27 November 2020

CONVERSION PRACTICES PUBLIC CONSULTATION LAUNCHED, SURVIVORS URGED TO TELL THEIR PERSONAL STORIES

Tasmanian LGBTIQ equality advocates have welcomed a public consultation on banning conversion practices launched by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute today.

The TLRI’s Issues Paper, ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Practices’ canvasses a number of issues including the definition of conversion practices, the ideology behind it, the harm they cause and what penalties should apply.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, “Attempts to change or suppress sexual orientation or gender identity, or to portray LGBTIQ people as somehow ‘broken’, have been shown to cause immense harm and have been condemned by Australia’s leading medical and psychological organisations.”

“Unfortunately, conversion practices are still inflicted in Tasmania today, often on vulnerable young people.”

“We encourage LGBTIQ people who have survived conversion practices to tell their personal stories to the TLRI so it understands how deep the trauma can be.”

“I want to assure people of faith this is not about religious freedom, it is about the false claims and pseudo-scientific practices inflicted on LGBTIQ too often in the name of religion.”