2022 Tasmania Law Reform Institute Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Report

Impact: Policy impacts

Description of impact

Research data and findings from article 'Religious Conversion Practices and LGBTQA+ Youth’ led by Prof Jones et al. [2021] and published in the journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, was cited multiple times throughout the report. It was used to show evidence that SOGI conversion practices are taking place in Australia (e.g. p.41), including for 4% of the surveyed 6,412 LGBTQA+ Australians aged 14–21 years and who had attended SOGI conversion practices as counselling, group work, programs or interventions that aimed to change their sexuality or gender identity (e.g. p.80). It was also cited to show SOGI conversion occurred in Tasmania, and was higher for youth who were personally religious or from a religious household. The report noted the article's establishment of correlation between conversion practices and poorer well-being outcomes, including increased levels of harassment, homelessness, drug-use, mental health conditions, suicidal ideation and attempts, and self-harm (e.g. p.80). he Institute recommends that Tasmanian law is reformed to more appropriately deal with these harms and risks.

The Institute’s recommendations involve amendments to health and anti-discrimination law and related laws to:

*Provide a clearer and more binding legal framework for existing professional health guidelines relating to the care and treatment of conditions relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. Guidelines would be set by a chief public health officer and be updated to reflect best health practices and evidence over time. For instance, declared guidelines would specify which medical professionals can assess and treat conditions like gender dysphoria and what procedures they must use.

*Stop unregistered and unqualified people from purporting to assess, diagnose or treat other’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a fault or dysfunction. For instance, convincing someone that they are mentally ill because they are attracted to someone of the same sex.

*Limit the harm caused by misinformation that aims to convince people conversion practices are safe, effective and necessary. For instance, circulating false and misleading pamphlets promoting pseudo-medical practices which are known to cause harm to vulnerable LGBTQA+ people.

In total, the Institute made 16 recommendations about how to best achieve these regulatory outcomes, sanction misconduct, provide redress to victims and ensure law reforms are effective and sustainable.
Impact date16 May 2022
Category of impactPolicy impacts