Survivors welcome NSW Premier’s commitment to end conversion practices, urge effective scheme

17 February 2023 - National LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia has joined with survivors to welcome today’s commitment by the NSW Premier to end LGBTQA+ conversion practices, urging the Premier to ensure that any scheme legislated by a Coalition government is effective in ending these damaging practices.  

“Practices seeking to change or suppress a person’s sexuality or gender identity cause real and lasting harm and are not supported by any medical or psychological professional association.” said Ghassan Kassisieh, Legal Director of National LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia.    

“Today’s commitment by the Premier is a welcome first step. It brings NSW into line with other states that are actively exploring ways to end these damaging practices and means that LGBTQA+ people and the voters of NSW can be assured that whoever wins the election will act on this issue.  

The response follows the Premier’s comments to the Sydney Morning Herald today, offering “in principle” support to legislation to end LGBTQA+ conversion practices if he wins the election.   

“Any scheme to end conversion practices will only be effective if it is inclusive of practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity occurring in either health and religious settings, and include a civil scheme focussed on stopping conversion practices before they cause harm”, said Mr Kassisieh.  

Sydney based conversion practice survivor and co-founder of SOGICE Survivors, Chris Csabs, said:  

“As the NSW election approaches, we welcome the Premier’s announcement and the newly formed bi-partisan commitment to ending LGBTQA+ conversion practices in this state, once and for all. 

“But whoever forms government must ensure that the legislation ends all practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexuality or gender identity in any setting – including health and religious settings – and promote awareness and prevention of harm through a civil response scheme. Criminal penalties must be reserved for situations where injury can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.” 

“Greenwich’s Bill deserves bipartisan support, as it builds on the world-leading scheme survivors fought for in Victoria, and subsequently New Zealand.” 

“I urge whoever wins government to follow Sydney MP Alex Greenwich’s example, and consult closely with survivors in the development of a scheme.” 

Anthony Venn-Brown, CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI), 

“The Premier committing  to end LGBTQA+ conversion practices is so important. LGBTQ people have experienced decades of harm often from from well intentioned people with a variety of motives, based on ill-informed and outdated information.  

“Half a century ago, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association took homosexuality off the list of mental disorders. This legislation to protect vulnerable LGBTQ people is long overdue. It’s 2023 and LGBTQ people are embraced and affirmed by family, friends, sports clubs and the companies they work for. They are not broken and don’t need “fixing”. 

(1) SOGICE stands for “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts”   

Media Contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, tara.ravens@equalityaustralia.org.au