The Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) has released its Final Report and Recommendations to address the harms caused by sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices. TILES Research Higher Degree student,Ash Barnes, was a report co-author working under the leadership of Associate Professor Brendan Gogarty and Dr Martin Clark.
The TLRI received evidence that conversion practices happen in Tasmania, that they have caused severe harm, and that they are a continuing risk to LGBTQA+ Tasmanians. The report made 16 recommendations to address these harms and risks, including:
- Stop unregistered and unqualified people from purporting to assess, diagnose or treat other’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a fault or dysfunction.
- Limit the harm caused by misinformation that aims to convince people conversion practices are safe, effective and necessary.
Equality Tasmania President Rodney Croome stated, “We are in discussion with the Government and other members of parliament to determine the best path forward. There is a willingness to act and we look forward to working with all members of parliament to implement the recommendations of this report.”
Mr Croome noted two recent studies, including one commissioned by the Tasmanian Government and authored by TILES Deputy Director, that show one in twenty LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians have experienced conversion practices and experience increased risk of PTSD and suicide as a result.
The report follows a call for an inquiry into conversion practices by key representative bodies in 2016 and the call for submissions to an issue paper in 2020. The Institute received 256 public submissions (125 written submissions and 131 online survey submissions), and a joint submission endorsed by a petition with 377 signatures, calling for the prohibition of SOGI conversion practices.
Conversion practices aim to change, suppress or eradicate people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They might be framed as ‘therapy’, ‘counselling’, or ‘treatment’ to change who a person is attracted to, or how they feel about or express their gender.
Contemporary science and mainstream medical consensus discredits conversion practices and the beliefs that motivate them.