As Bill C-6 is debated in Canadian Parliament, a similar bill addressing “conversion therapy,” has been introduced in Victoria, Australia. The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 states, “A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not broken and in need of fixing.” This is true enough, in the context of sexual orientation, but is incoherent when applied to gender identity.
Kids who claim or are said to “identify” with a “gender” that does not match their sex often end up on medical pathways that involve puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and body modification surgeries like double mastectomies and vaginoplasties. If these interventions are not a “fixing” of something that is assumed to be broken, what is?
The bill’s stated purpose is to “denounce” and prohibit practices aimed at changing or suppressing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Should the bill pass, a commission would be set up to investigate accusations of “conversion therapy,” and to distribute punishments for violations.
The maximum penalties for an individual are up to $200,000 in fines and 10 years in jail (with substantially higher fines for body corporates).
Two LGB groups — LGB Australia (which was previously LGBT Australia but unceremoniously split from the “T” earlier this year) and the LGB Alliance Australia — take issue with the bill on behalf of their members and what they see as the interests of the LGB community.
We can support LGBT youth without criminalizing those who work to ensure minors don’t make mistakes they may regret deeply as adults.