Last week, Cath and I attended another Midsumma Pride March together.
We marched alongside thousands of other Victorians, united in the belief that everyone should be able to celebrate who they are with pride.
These activities – commonly referred to as ‘gay conversion therapy’ – claim to be able to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity.
What they really are is a most personal form of torture, a cruel practice that perpetuates the idea that LGBTI people are in some way broken.
Recognising the real drivers for ‘conversion therapy’ – fear and hatred – our Government has already changed the law to crackdown on purported health professionals who engage in these barbaric practices.
At the same time, this reform – alongside the courageous stories of survivors – has demonstrated there are still gaps.
Gaps that allow ‘conversion therapy’, and the suffering it inflicts, to continue.
It’s why we tasked Victoria’s Health Complaints Commissioner with investigating those gaps.
As that report has shown, some Victorians – seeking genuine professional support – have instead found themselves on the other end of this bigoted quackery.
Others have sought it out, forced to believe that they somehow need to be ‘cured’.
But it’s not LGBTI people who need to change. It’s our laws.
That’s why, in an Australian first, we will introduce new legislation to ensure so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is against the law – once and for all.
The development of these new laws will be led by a panel of experts, including those with policy and legal backgrounds, and with close engagement from our Government’s LGBTI Taskforce.
And of course, it will be guided by the voices of survivors – those brave and unwavering individuals who have led this fight from the beginning.
Together, we will drag these practices from the dark ages and into the brightest of lights.
We’ll put an end to the suffering and help survivors to heal.
And we’ll send the clearest message of all:
Here in Victoria, not only are you good enough – you’re worth celebrating.
Premier of Victoria
If you or someone you love need to talk, please contact:
- Switchboard on 1800 184 527 or via webchat at qlife.org.au
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or via beyondblue.org.au