Media Release

UK backtracks on conversion therapy legislation – so should we

Five years after the UK Conservative government announced their support for a ban on conversion therapy, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is backtracking. In so doing he has joined a growing number of countries to retreat from affirmation type therapy for gender confused minors, including Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

Commenting on the news from England, National Director of Politics for the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), Wendy Francis, said, “This is a wake-up call. It is surely now incomprehensible for the Australian government to continue to refuse calls for an inquiry into best practice for children who are confused about their gender. The government has been asked to conduct an independent inquiry from medical practitioners, survivors, parents, feminist groups, religious groups, parliamentarians and media. What is it that they are afraid of finding out?

“For our government to continue to support gender affirmation therapy as the only treatment for gender-dysphoric children is to ignore the growing body of evidence that it is harming children, placing them on a pathway of lifelong medicalisation, starting with puberty blockers, followed by cross-sex hormones and plastic surgery, including mastectomies on young girls.

“The dramatic increase in de-transitioners is revealing the devastation caused by affirmation therapy started on Australian children aged 11 and 12. Tragically, many will struggle for the remainder of their lives with the irreversible medical consequences they made, and were affirmed in, as minors.

“Any form of abusive or coercive practice under the term ‘conversion therapy’ is abhorrent and wrong. But Australia already has laws in place to protect people from such offences.

“By continuing to refuse calls for an inquiry into gender affirmation therapy, Federal and State Governments are delaying the inevitable, and more children’s lives, as well as entire families, are being devastated.”

ACL calls on Federal and State governments to urgently initiate an independent inquiry into the lifelong medicalisation of children through mandatory affirmation therapy.

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