Prohibition of Conversion Practices ACT
- AACS continue to advocate against the introduction of "conversion practice" bans. We recently discovered that the ACT Government has been conducting a consultation about its proposed Prohibition on Conversion Practices in ACT.
- The term "conversion practices" is quite misleading because it is defined so broadly as to include activities such as prayer and pastoral support for people questioning their sexuality or gender.
- It is important to be clear that the abhorrent medical practices of the mid-20th century are not in any way supported, however, there is no evidence that they remain in use within Australia.
- The Factsheet released by the ACT Government describes the kinds of practices likely to be prohibited are:
“any practice or treatment by any person that seeks to change, suppress and/or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expressions.”
- AACS is concerned that the proposed definition is so broad that it could restrict our schools’ freedom of speech and religious liberties as it is unclear whether "any practice" by "any person” would include regular Christian practices such as teaching, prayer or pastoral counselling of students who may be seeking advice and support about their gender or sexuality.
- A watchful waiting approach is recommended by many health professionals for children presenting with gender dysphoria, however, the dominant pro-trans “affirmative” care approach would describe this as “conversion therapy”.
- The "affirmative” approach being promoted would require healthcare practitioners, pastors and teachers not to question a child’s gender preference, even as that progresses to the administration of irreversible puberty-blocking medication, cross-sex hormones and surgery.
- Earlier this year the Queensland Government tried to introduce similar laws (including criminal sanctions for health professionals who did not conform to the affirmative model) but that bill was stopped in its tracks due to the advocacy of health professionals and Christian groups. You can read our submission here.
- AACS has lodged a joint submission to the ACT Government along with Christian Schools Australia, Adventist Schools Australia and the Islamic School of Canberra which you can read here.