A “historic day”: NSW bans anti-LGBTQ conversion practices

A “historic day”: NSW bans anti-LGBTQ conversion practices
Image: NSW MPs After Passing The Ban On Anti-Gay Conversion Practices. Image: MP Alex Greenwich.



NSW has become the fourth jurisdiction in Australia to ban harmful anti-LGBTQI conversion practices.

Upper House Parliament members sat overnight to pass the Labor government’s bill that makes conversion therapy a criminal offence. The bill passed at 6am on Friday with 22 members voting for and four against.

The bill, which will come into effect in 12 months, makes it illegal to take someone out of the state to undergo conversion practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Soon after the bill cleared Parliament, Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said, “The sun rises today on a state that is safer for LGBTQ people.”

“I’m grateful to the Minns Labor Government for delivering a prohibition on LGBTQ conversion practices, and working with me and so many stakeholders to get the balance right on this historic legislation,” he continued in the statement.

“LGBTQ people are loved and beautiful, and futile attempts to change or suppress who we are will now be illegal in NSW.”

In recent years, legislation to ban conversion practices has been passed in Queensland, ACT and Victoria. Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia are currently considering legislation to ban conversion practices.

“Historic Day”

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown called it a “historic day”.

“Today, countless lives have been saved – and we hope future generations will never know the pain these practices cause,” Ms Brown said.

Survivors group SOGICE (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Change Efforts) Survivors said it was commendable that a state with a “considerable history of conversion practices” had outlawed the harmful practice. 

“As a survivor who experienced conversion practices over an extended period of time in NSW, I  am overwhelmed by a mix of emotions,” Chris Csabs, co-founder of SOGICE Survivors, said in a statement.

“I  am thrilled that my home state has finally drawn a line in the sand to say that LGBTQ+ people deserve to live free from these discriminatory and harmful practices.” 

“At the same time, I am  eager to see the application of the legislation strengthened so that it can be as protective as  possible.” 

According to SOGICE Survivors, the NSW bill draws on some of the best practices adopted by Victoria and New Zealand, with criminal penalties for offenders and processes for prevention and redress.

Nathan Despott, survivor advocate and SOGICE survivors co-founder said, “There have been claims that conversion practices no longer occur in NSW and that they are a matter of religious freedom.”

“However, numerous peak faith bodies, fringe health practitioners,  and even parliamentarians have openly declared their adherence to conversion ideology during the debate.”

“We view this admission as a spectacular own goal as it confirms beyond doubt that the  level of risk is still high in New South Wales.”

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