Queensland legislation misses the mark
Aug 16, 2020 —
Please read the following from SOGICE Survivors and Brave Network regarding the Queensland Health Legislation Amendment passed on Thursday last week:
Despite the strong message from the Queensland Premier and Health Minister that Queensland rejects the notion that LGBTQ+ people are ‘broken’ or need to be healed, there are several key problems with the legislation attached to this message.
The Health Legislation Amendment defines ‘conversion therapy’ as ‘a treatment or other practice that attempts to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity’, however the prohibition only mentions health service providers (see below). SOGICE Survivors and Brave Network have repeatedly stated that the bulk of harm occurs over time in informal settings (such as pastoral care), and not in therapeutic contexts.
213H Prohibition of conversion therapy
(1) A person who is a health service provider must not perform conversion therapy on another person.
(a) if the other person is a vulnerable person— 150 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment; or
(b) otherwise—100 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.
(2) An offence against subsection (1) is a misdemeanour.
(3) In this section—
vulnerable person means—
(a) a child; or
(b) a person who has impaired capacity within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 for making decisions about a particular treatment offered by a health service provider; or
(c) a person with an impairment that is likely to significantly limit the person’s ability to understand a particular treatment offered by a health service provider.
This means that, despite being labeled a ‘ban on gay conversion therapy’, this legislation will not provide protection in the vast majority of cases, nor will it get to the root of the problem. SOGICE Survivors and Brave Network have worked hard to communicate that conversion ideology and practices occur most often in informal (non-therapeutic) settings, usually in religious communities under the guise of ‘pastoral care’. Brave, which is the largest survivor network in Australia, indicates that only a small handful of the survivors of conversion practices within the last decade have reported that their experiences were in formal health settings, in contrast to the hundreds of recent survivors whose experiences have been self-directed and/or in informal settings.
How can you help?
Please help us to communicate that this legislation must only be a first step – a much broader strategy is needed. Point people to the recommendations in the SOGICE Survivor Statement as an example of the type of multi-faceted response needed.
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