Psychiatrists raise concerns regarding Conversion Practices Bill

02 February 2021
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Branch has raised concerns about the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 being put forward to Parliament.

The RANZCP is a strong supporter of measures to ban conversion practices. It is widely agreed that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation risks causing significant harm to individuals, as well as contributing to the misrepresentation of certain sexualities as mental disorders.

The RANZCP Victorian Branch remains concerned that the broad wording of the proposed legislation may not protect the work of clinicians engaged in evidence-based practice to support the mental health needs of the LGBTIQ+ community. This can include exploratory work that empowers people to explore and challenge their own concepts of self, others and sexuality, and ultimately serves to affirm a clearer sense of self.

Furthermore, the legislation as currently drafted conflates the separate issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. This approach does not reflect the different factors, complexities, theories and research relating to gender identity and gender dysphoria.This does not imply support for rejecting, or attempting to change a persons gender identity, but a recognition that there are differences between these two issues, and that different approaches may be needed to better understand these issues and to support individuals.

The Victorian Branch strongly encourages the Victorian Government to work closely with health professional and members of the LGBTIQ+ community to guide the development of appropriate measures to ban conversion practices and support the mental health of these individuals.

For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.