Albany Pride’s statement regarding an event promoting “conversion therapy” for LGBTQIA+ people in Albany.
21st May, 2021
ALBANY PRIDE STATEMENT:
ALBANY BAPTIST CHURCH PROMOTES DANGEROUS CONVERSION THERAPY
It has come to the attention of ALBANY PRIDE that the Albany Baptist Church is hosting an event promoting religious “gay conversion” therapy: that is, the pseudoscientific and completely discredited practice that one can “cure” themselves of being LGBTQA+.
Naturally, ALBANY PRIDE condemns, in no uncertain terms, this abhorrent and barbaric practice.
Not only is this kind of practice entrenched with deep-rooted homophobia and transphobia, but it is also incredibly dangerous. Practitioners of this abhorrent practice will often have absolutely no training in the field of psychology or psychiatry (or will have been “trained” at an institution that is not recognised and widely discredited) – meaning already vulnerable people, many of whom are already experiencing intense grief and trauma, are being placed in harm’s way by people who are completely unqualified to help them.
There has also been increasing concern and evidence that this practice is used against teenagers and children, causing lasting psychological damage.
The Australian Psychological Society also condemns the practice, and states that “no professional practice in Australia supports these approaches”, and has supported an Australian-wide ban on the practice.
Albany Pride echoes the words of Anna Brown, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, who states, “The conversion movement’s activities are proven to be ineffective and harmful. Telling someone they are broken or sick because of who they are is profoundly psychologically damaging.”
LGBTQIA+ already suffer significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, psychological distress and suicide attempts.
A large part of the reason for this is the entrenched homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and other forms of Queerphobia that place them in this vulnerable position: the kind of ideology which is at the heart of the “conversion therapy” promoted by Albany Baptist Church.
Proponents of the kind of dangerous conversion practices will argue that this is a “freedom of religion” issue. It isn’t. It’s an issue of public health and safety. It’s an issue of protecting the wellbeing of vulnerable people against a practice which has no scientific basis, and is widely condemned and discredited by experts in the field of mental health and psychology. It is an issue of protecting people from a damaging con.
Which is why, of course, you won’t hear from people who have suffered as a result of these “conversion practices” at these events. You won’t hear of the abuse and self-loathing they were forced to endure at the hands of these charlatans. Nor will you hear the experiences of the vast majority of people who endured this and weren’t “cured” because it simply doesn’t work. You’ll only hear, just like in any scam, the people who continue to believe the lie and the people who help perpetuate it: this is, put simply, snake oil salespeople flogging more snake oil.
The people who promote and perpetuate these abhorrent practices may feel they are doing this out of genuine compassion or an act of kindness to help people out of the the goodness of their own hearts but, being LGBTQIA+ is not a choice. It is not a disorder, and it doesn’t need a cure. There is no conflict between being a good Christian and being LGBTQIA+.
To the LGBTQIA+ people who have experienced trauma and abuse at the hands of organisations such as the Albany Baptist Church that promote this practice and anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric, we see you, hear you, and recognise you. You are loved and you are accepted for who you are: sincerely and genuinely, by all of us at Albany Pride and the people that support us.
To those of you who are reading this and facing a conflict between your faith and your sexuality, gender identity, and/or intersex status: know that in reality, there is no conflict, do not let anybody convince you that there is.
To anyone who is struggling with their sexuality, gender identity and/or intersex status at this very moment: we are here for you, and we encourage you to seek support from certified professionals who will genuinely have your best interests at heart (this, of course, applies to anyone who is struggling with anything).
ALBANY PRIDE encourages Rebecca Stephens Member for Albany to confront the issue of LGBTQIA+ conversion practices with Mark McGowan, WA Labor and the State Government, to ensure these dangerous and discredited practices are outlawed, so that vulnerable people are prevented from further harm.
Included below are some support organisations people can contact if they have been affected by the issues raised in this post. PLEASE, if you need support and help, seek it. Your life is precious.
As always, we thank those who support organisations like ours and the LGBTQIA+ community.
20th May, 2021
If your life or someone else’s is in urgent danger, always ring 000.
13 11 14
1800 198 313
1300 224 636
Mental Health Emergency Response Line:
1300 555 788 (Metro)
1800 676 822 (Peel)
1800 552 002 (Country/Rurallink)
QLife (3pm – Midnight):
1800 184 527
headspace Albany (for people aged 12-25, Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm):
(08) 9842 9871