Monday, 5th December, 2022
Albany Pride would like to take the opportunity to applaud the WA Government for outlining its plans to criminalise Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE) in Western Australia. Of course, this is welcome legislation that cannot come too soon and has been a long time coming.
Such conversion or suppression efforts, known commonly as ‘conversion therapies’, inflict very real and lasting psychological damage on LGBTQA people, are further contribute to the disparities in health and wellbeing that the Queer community suffer. Legislation that criminalises such efforts must apply to all settings – whether they be medical in the public or private sector, or indeed in religious settings, where a great deal of modern conversion efforts take place. This, of course, has been highlighted most recently by the inquiry into the Esther Foundation, which has brought into the spotlight – once again – the heinous and inexcusable practices that are enacted on vulnerable people, when such institutions are allowed to act of their own accord.
LGBTIQA+ people are not broken, and we do not need fixing.
However, Albany Pride in no uncertain terms urge the West Australian Government to take seriously the human rights concerns that occur with medical interventions affecting people with innate variations of sex characteristics (commonly known as intersex, the I in LGBTIQA), which seek to make the bodies of children fit normative ideas about appearance and function.
Intersex Human Rights Australia has highlighted that the proposed legislation may not include a ban on such medical interventions on children. Intersex individuals deserve the same autonomy, and “fundamental value of personal dignity”, as is being promised to LGBTQA West Australians. As such, it’s fundamental that consultation takes place with the intersex community and organisations such Intersex Human Rights Australia, regarding these interventions that seek to erase their intersex status, just as “conversion therapies” seek to erase the rest of the LGBTQA community.
We would also like to take the opportunity to give our immense admiration and gratitude to the many survivors of the Esther Foundation, and other similar institutions, that have come forward to share their experiences, which have been the driver for this much-needed legislation, and of course, to recognise all survivors of these horrific practices, and to remember and commemorate those that didn’t survive.
Albany Pride welcome this legislation, but once again, reiterates that it must protect the entire LGBTQIA+ community, and not make exceptions.