Written by James Parker
If you blinked, you might have missed almost identical pieces of legislation recently passed by regional governments.
Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory both adopted laws within days of each other to criminalise so-called conversion therapy.
Legislation demands that health service providers reject any therapy or pastoral care which suggests changing or suppressing a person’s sexual attraction or gender identity. The penalty? Up to 18 months in jail in Queensland, and up to $24,000 in fines and 12 months’ imprisonment in the ACT.
Queensland’s Health Minister, Steve Miles, said, “No treatment or practice can change a person’s sexual attraction or experience of gender. To young people out there who might hear this… you can’t be fixed because you are not broken, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong – your government supports you.”
ACT’s Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, described conversion therapies as “a form of abuse”, “a profound violation of human rights.” Barr has even enshrined into law the taking of a person outside the ACT for sexuality or gender identity conversion therapy as an offence. If that is not permanent lockdown of a person’s choices, then what is?
Clearly, both Barr and Miles know little of the inner struggles of unwanted same-sex attractions and gender dysphoria. And yet they justify their laws on a deeply flawed report that came out of LaTrobe University called Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice.
The report’s authors interviewed a mere 15 people who claim to have had negative experiences with conversion therapy. However, they failed to interview even one person who had experienced lasting change from therapy. These people, whose lives are on public display across many websites in Australia and abroad have changed sufficiently to enter into long-term heterosexual marriages, to diminish same-sex attractions or to wholly reject long-term transgender lives. The results of recent comprehensive research of over 45 people’s stories is now visible at www.freetochange.org.
I walk alongside many who struggle with unwanted sexual attractions and questions about gender. The voices of vulnerable young Australians on this topic are rarely if ever heard.
One 20-year-old male with unwanted same-sex attraction from Brisbane commented, “The recovery journey I recently began has decreased my depression, addictions and raging anxiety, and given me hope to reach my full potential. I want more counselling and avenues of access to people who understand the causes of my issues, not total lockdown.
“Since my government passed this law, I feel completely betrayed and am being plunged into greater depression and increased anxiety.
“The message they’re sending is that they don’t respect me. They’re forcing me to embrace something I don’t want to embrace. That’s not their decision to make. It’s mine.”
There is the 54-year-old man who, after having spent 19 years living as a faux-woman having had his genitals and fertility surgically removed, then forcing his children to call him mum rather than dad, is now detransitioning and having to deeply grieve being fast-tracked away from his biological sex after a mere two consultations with so-called insightful medics.
Then there is the 28-year-old male who, two years after rejecting his long-term gay relationship, speaks of having been “an addict filled with impulses I couldn’t control, with anxiety and depression, and no direction of where I was going.
“Now,” he says, “my anxiety has significantly reduced. My depression has lifted. I have direction and hope for the future. I no longer prostitute myself, hustle drugs, steal men from their women, or try to escape reality. Many only tried to make my life comfortable rather than find me help to face the underlying discomforts and pains of my past.
“The support and therapy I now receive are helping me to address childhood traumas, to make my own life decisions, and to make long-term change imaginable.”
What about minors who seek support in their struggles?
An 18-year-old with unwanted same-sex attraction who started therapy when aged 16 after flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse stated, “My pain’s slowly been reducing but now I’m getting really stressed about this new law. I’m feeling more vulnerable than ever.
“It feels as though politicians are now attacking me personally when I am the one who was wronged and hurt as a kid.”
To challenge the “can’t change” propaganda preached by Barr, Miles and other politicians is to be vilified by the LGBTQ+ macro minority and their regimented allies. The micro minority of detransitioners and those reducing their same-sex attraction through therapy experience their bullying firsthand.
The words of Pope St Gregory the Great serve us well against the backdrop of governments’ lies which now legally imprison young people in the name of freedom. He wisely said that “ignorance is a dangerous and spiritual poison, which all men ought warily to shun”, and that “should the intention be unclean, the deed that follows from it will also be evil, even if it seems good.”
Regional governments’ new therapy legislation does not support their people. It prevents justice and promotes harm and is another blatant theft of parents’ rights.
Every decent citizen who cares about children and vulnerable adults should challenge and outrightly reject laws that control proven beneficial therapy, pastoral care and the freedom of passage to access these.
James Parker was a gay rights’ activist and today facilitates True Identity, an informal national network that supports those struggling with sexuality, gender and identity issues.