In a move that has sparked frustration among advocates, Tasmania’s commitment to ban conversion practices, a harmful practice aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, has seen minimal progress. Despite Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s initial support and the pressing recommendations from the 2022 Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) report, tangible legislative action has yet to materialize.
The Urgent Need for Legal Action
The TLRI report unequivocally stated that conversion practices are occurring in Tasmania, causing severe harm and presenting an ongoing risk. Notably, every major health body that responded to the inquiry supported the regulation and prohibition of these practices. The report’s findings emphasized the dire consequences for LGBTIQA+ individuals subjected to conversion practices, including significantly higher rates of PTSD and suicide attempts.
Advocates’ Call for Immediate Action
Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome has expressed deep disappointment over the government’s delay. With evidence of LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians currently suffering from conversion practices, the need for immediate legislative action becomes ever more pressing. Croome highlights the potential danger of Tasmania becoming a refuge for conversion practitioners expelled from other states, should it continue to lag in implementing these reforms.
Comparative Progress in Other Regions
Tasmania’s hesitation stands in contrast to other Australian territories like Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT, which have already banned conversion practices. Additionally, governments in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory have committed to similar actions. This disparity underscores the urgency for Tasmania to align with the broader national movement towards protecting LGBTIQA+ rights and wellbeing.
Advocates, including Croome, are seeking meetings with Premier Rockliff and Attorney-General Guy Barnett to advocate for the immediate public release of the legislation before year’s end. The situation in Tasmania serves as a reminder of the critical importance of swift and decisive legal action in safeguarding the rights and mental health of LGBTIQA+ communities. As the year draws to a close, the focus remains on whether Tasmania will fulfill its commitment to ban conversion practices and stand in solidarity with the ongoing fight for LGBTIQA+ rights.