Victoria Will Ban Gay Conversion Therapy, Premier Says
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has vowed to ban gay conversion therapy after slamming the practice as "evil" and a "form of torture".
Conversion therapy is commonly used to describe practices which claim to be able to change someone's sexuality or gender identity, and specifically targets gay, bisexual or transgender people.
The proposed legislation would ban the practice in the state in what's believed would be an Australian first.
Last year federal Labor signaled it would crack down on the practice if Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was to win government.
"For far too long and for far too many Victorians, an evil practice has instead peddled in shame and stigma," Andrews said in a statement on Sunday.
He said the practice perpetuates an idea that LGBTI people are "in some way broken".
"But it’s not LGBTI people who need to change. It’s our laws," Andrews said.
"We’ll 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."
The proposed ban follows a Health Complaints Commissioner investigation into conversion practices, which found evidence of long-term harm to survivors.
"The Labor Government has also given in principle support to funding counselling and support services for survivors, and will work on developing a comprehensive and tailored package of supports for survivors," the statement said.
CEO of Equality Australia, one of the nation's largest LGBTI advocacy organisations, Anna Brown welcomed the premier's announcement as a recognition of the "lasting harm" on survivors.
"The conversion movement’s activities are proven to be ineffective and harmful," Brown said.
"Telling someone they are broken or sick because of who they are is profoundly psychologically damaging.”
Conversion therapy is illegal at least 15 states in America and last year the U.K. announced it would also be looking to ban the practice around the country.
Featured Image: AAP