The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has released a statement calling for an end to so called conversion ‘therapy’  as over half of Australian states have not banned the controversial practice. 

According to the statement, the peak professional body would like to see an end to discrimination against LGBTQI patients and healthcare workers.

“Many people who are LGBTIQA+ in Australia live happy and healthy lives. However, many experience unacceptable health inequities,” AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said. 

“Conversion practices are a blatant example of the discrimination faced by LGBTIQA+ people in Australia and have no place in our society.” 

Khorshid said Victoria, Queensland and the ACT as the only state and territories in Australia to have banned conversion practices. 

Include LGBTQI Health Knowledge

The AMA further calls on “the Australian Medical Council to include LGBTQI health knowledge as a graduate outcome for medical students”. 

Dr Beng Eu from Prahran Market Clinic who participated in LGBTQI education programs, believes “it’s really important” that doctors are educated about LGBTQI health. 

“I think it’s just as important for example, nurses and other healthcare workers to at least have education in this area,” Dr Eu said. 

He also said healthcare workers need to be informed about the dangers of conversion practices and to “direct [LGBTQI] people to get some [medical] help if they need it.” Dr Eu warned that some doctors who are members of the AMA will not be supportive of a ban imposed on gay conversion practice in the states and territories that are yet to ban it. 

Providing Discrimination- Free Health Services

Thorne Health Harbour CEO Simon Ruth said the right health services need to be offered to LGBTQI people in parts of Australia where they’re lacking, particularly where they face discrimination. 

According to Ruth, Thorne Harbour Health “has received feedback about the lack of education about [the] communities’ health concerns”, with LGBTIQA+ health education for medical students being “long overdue.”

“We have heard from the LGBTIQA+ communities we serve about an array of bad experiences when engaging healthcare services – from services that misgender trans and gender diverse clients, to services that deny access to HIV prevention tools like PEP,” Ruth said.

The AMA also referred to intersex rights with the “Yogyakarta Principle 32 that ‘no-one should be subjected to invasive or irreversible medical procedures that modify sex characteristics without their free, prior and informed consent, unless necessary to avoid serious, urgent and irreparable harm to the concerned person’.”

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