The Australian Capital Territory Parliament will tomorrow (Thursday 19 August 2020) debate and possibly vote on the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020.
Far from just outlawing harmful, antiquated practices, the wording of the Bill means that it may become illegal to simply support a child to become comfortable with their biological sex.
If you are an ACT resident, please contact your local MP TODAY. You may call their office or send an email.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES WITH THE BILL?
The Bill would ban so-called “conversion therapy.” It would make it an offence, punishable with a fine (up to $24,000) and/or imprisonment for 12 months, to perform “sexuality or gender identity conversion therapy” on a child or on an individual with impaired decision-making ability.
An offence would be committed regardless of the consent of the child’s parents or the guardian of an individual with impaired decision-making ability.
It would also be an offence to take a child or vulnerable person out of the ACT for the purpose of conversion therapy.
“Conversion practice” is defined as “”a treatment or other practice the purpose … of which is to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.”
Any “person”, not just a medical professional or registered psychiatrist or psychologist, who performs a “conversion practice” on a child or vulnerable person commits an offence. So even the informal advice or counsel of parents or an aunt or other close family member or friend for example, if it did not affirm a child’s gender identity could amount to an offence.
Such a law would mean parents would not be able to express any view or seek any kind of counselling or medical advice for their child other than to affirm the child’s claimed gender identity. And under the recent amendments to the birth certificate law parents also have no say in their child seeking to change their sex descriptor on their birth certificate to their new gender identity.
This is an undermining of parents’ rights and erosion of family stability. It also exposes vulnerable children to grave risk to their long term health and well being – see here for a discussion of these risks.
Please contact your MP as soon as possible.
WHAT CAN I SAY?
Here are some points you may like to raise (in your own words) in your email or phone call:
- What exactly is a “sexuality or gender identity conversion practice”? Will simply not affirming or supporting a child who says he/she was born in the wrong body and is really the opposite sex amount to such a “practice”? Will expressing any hesitation about the child’s gender identity amount to a “conversion practice”? Will suggesting let’s wait and see (rather than for eg dressing as and presenting as the opposite sex) amount to a “conversion practice”?
- The Bill undermines the right and indeed the responsibility of parents to be final decision makers for their minor children in recognition of the child’s immaturity which and therefore inability to grasp the medium and long term likely consequences of a decision to live as a member of the opposite sex to their biological or natal sex or to identify with a gender identity other than their biological or natal sex.
- Will parents or close family members such as a beloved grandparent or aunt or uncle be at risk of prosecution for expressing an opinion to a child that is other than affirming the child in an expressed identification with the opposite sex or a gender identity other than their biological sex?