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Drummond street services wish to express our wholehearted gratitude to the Victorian Government for recently introducing a Bill to outlaw damaging conversion practices and call on all Victorian MPs to support the Bill.

We want to thank Daniel Andrews and everybody who played a role in fighting for and contributing to the Bill. As an organisation who works with children and adult survivors whose lives have been gravely impacted by these outdated and harmful conversion practices, we have seen first-hand how damaging these practices are on the mental health of individuals, families, and friends. We have seen how conversion practices not only impact lives of those still with us, but also how far too many lives have been lost because of damaging practices that have been used to deter people from being who they are.

As a part of our practice, we helped reveal during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, that sexual abuse tactics have appallingly been used as a form of conversion practices. This should never have been okay, and in 2020 it is time to do the right thing and ban all forms of conversion practices.

We believe this Bill is important and timely as it confirms that people should feel no pressure to change who they are, that they are accepted and supported and that they have a right to be their true selves without anybody trying to change that. In line with the Victorian government’s Equal Opportunity Act 2010 we affirm the right for LGBTIQA+ people have the right to safety from the discrimination inherent in conversion practices and the right for redress if subjected to them.

We call on all Victorian MPs to support this bill and pass it to help improve the lives of LGBTIQA+ and those who may be questioning their gender or sexuality. Whilst we realise that we have a long way to go to get rid of discrimination fully, this Bill is a great step towards ending the incredible harm caused by attempted LGBTIQA+ conversion practices.

Whilst we encourage members of parliament to support this bill, we must also express disappointment that forced medical interventions on people born with intersex variations is not included as a form of conversion practices and encourage this to be included as an amendment to the bill as the rights of people with intersex variations should not be excluded.

Sincerely,

Karen Field

CEO drummond street services & queerspace