The Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director has spoken out in defence of anti-LGBTI conversion ‘therapy’.

Writing on the ACL’s blog, Martyn Iles said that LGBTI people and advocates are trying to “get at kids”.

He argued that the term ‘conversion therapy’ was itself misleading, conjuring images of torture.

“It is an Orwellian phrase,” wrote Iles.

“It evokes images of electric shock treatments, bizarre rituals, and abuse.

“But the [Labor Party’s] policy statement begins by saying that mere claims about the possibility of a changed gender identity or sexual orientation are false, harmful, and should not continue to be made.”

Anti-LGBTI conversion ‘therapy’ or ‘counselling’, often committed by religious groups, is known to cause serious mental trauma to its victims.

Greens Senator Janet Rice this week shared the story of Chris, a survivor of anti-gay conversion who is now calling on the federal government to ban the practice.

The Australian Capital Territory has committed to banning anti-LGBTI conversion, and in Victoria those who attempt to offer such practices could face prosecution.

In Iles’s blog entry he claimed that young people need to be protected from their own ideas about gender and sexuality, through practices that would be deemed “conversion therapy”, to prevent them from being influenced by “mind-bending” LGBTI support resources.

“If Harry goes to school and is confused by a mind-bending teaching resource like the Gender Unicorn, he may think he is a girl,” Iles wrote.

“Perhaps he played with a Barbie doll for a while and doesn’t like rough sports. Say he then went to the school counsellor who suggested Harry might want to undergo a social transition… the next discussion will be about puberty blockers, because Harry is already 12.

“If mum or dad try to delay such actions by Harry, believing he is likely in the 90-odd percent of children who naturally grow out of these feelings, then they could well be guilty of ‘conversion therapy’.”

Iles claimed that the Labour Party’s policy would remove parental control over the medical treatment of such pre-teens.

“The ALP policy states that this will be deemed ‘serious psychological abuse’,” he wrote.

He promised that the ACL would “soon be speaking out against these Orwellian policies”.

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