– ADVOCATES TO SEEK ELECTION COMMITMENTS
– LABOR AND GREENS WELCOME SURVEY

A new survey shows a national ban on conversion therapy is the top priority for LGBTIQ+ Australians ahead of the next federal election.

More than 2,500 participants were given a range of options for law and policy reform and were asked to rank each in order of priority with conversion therapy receiving the highest ranking of 3.48 out of 4.

Other priorities for LGBTIQ+ people included:
– funding to improve LGBTIQ+ safety in schools (ranked 3.44 out of 4)
– a national LGBTIQ+ suicide and mental health strategy (ranked 6.44 out of 7)
– better protections for LGBTIQ+ refugees (ranked 2.53 out of 3)

The survey was initiated by just.equal and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and conducted by social science researcher, Dr Sharon Dane, in a private capacity.

Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome said,

“We will be taking the priorities from this survey to all candidates and parties at the next election seeking their commitment to real change for LGBTIQ+ Australians.”

“The fact LGBTIQ+ people have themselves selected these priorities give us the strongest mandate possible for the election commitments we will seek.”

“Just.equal and PFLAG have a commitment to going to the LGBTIQ+ community when important decisions need to be made, and basing our law and policy reform agenda on what LGBTIQ+ Australians tell us.”

PFLAG national spokesperson, Shelley Argent, said,

“The political parties need to know that just because we have marriage equality, it doesn’t mean LGBTIQ+ people have full and equal rights. Many LGBTIQ+ people fear their rights will be taken away which makes it all the more important to highlight what still needs to be done.”

Chris Csabs, who has started a change.org petition with 42,000 signatures to ban the practice of conversion therapy, said,

“I’m pleased to see such a high level of concern about conversion therapy among LGBTIQ+ Australians.”

“But the problem is broader than just therapies in a medical context and we want to see a public health campaign against the whole idea that LGBTIQ+ people are ‘broken’.”

The ALP and the Greens both welcomed the survey results.

Labor’s federal Equality Spokesperson, Terri Butler, said,

“I thank just.equal and PFLAG for their survey and will make sure the results help inform Labor’s LGBTIQ+ election platform.”

Australian Greens’ leader, Richard Di Natale, said,

“The Greens welcome the findings of this survey and we will factor this in to our LGBTIQ+ policy making ahead of the next federal election.”

When asked about representation, survey respondents said their priorities are establishing liaison groups in federal government departments, better funding for existing advocacy organisations, and better representation for minority identity groups and smaller states.

Transgender respondents put Medicare funding for gender transition as their top priority and intersex respondents opted for a ban on unnecessary medical procedures.

Respondents also indicated support for human rights protections to be entrenched in the Constitution rather than simply in legislation.

The responses of those non-LGBTIQ+ people who took the survey were generally consistent with the responses of LGBTIQ+ people, except on the issue of law reform.

Non-LGBTIQ+ people indicated that equality for LGBTIQ+ families is their first priority, whereas they ranked a ban on conversion therapy second.

Respondents to the survey were spread roughly proportionally across important demographics including gender, age and place of residence.

To sign the petition, click here: https://www.change.org/p/praying-the-gay-away-nearly-killed-me-outlaw-conversion-therapy

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SUMMARY OF SURVEY RESULTS

1. Participants were first asked to rate the level of priority they gave a number of community and policy strategies within various domains. They were then asked to rank their high priority strategies in the order of which to address sooner. This allowed us to identify the most pressing issues within a pool of strategies already identified as being important. The following were ranked No: 1 within each domain. Where results differed between groups of participants, they are noted below. For the full list of strategies and ranks, refer to ‘Future Priorities’ within the report.

• Law Reforms

A national ban on LGBTIQ+ “conversion” or “reparative” therapies (1st for LGBTIQ+ participants)

Equal rights and protections for all families in federal law including LGBTIQ+ people and their children (1st for non-LGBTIQ+ participants)

• Funding Programs

Funding programs aimed at improving LGBTIQ+ safety and inclusion in schools

• Liaison with Federal Government Strategies

Establishing LGBTIQ+ policy groups in federal government agencies such as health, education, the federal police, justice, and the Prime Minister’s department

• Community Representation Strategies

Greater funding for existing LGBTIQ+ advocacy, policy, and service organisations

• Improving Rights and Conditions for Transgender/Intersex/Gender Non-Binary People

(Note: The top two items below are given equal ranking overall and are based on transgender, intersex and gender non-binary participants’ responses with the latter category overlapping the former categories).

Medicare funding for gender transition (1st for transgender participants)

Legislative protection for intersex people against unnecessary medical procedures and procedures without their informed consent (1st for intersex and gender non-binary participants).

Interestingly, for the sample in general, a national public education strategy in relation to transgender, intersex and gender non-binary issues was ranked 2nd, whereas this was less pressing an issue (ranked 4th or 5th) for those who identified as transgender, intersex and/or gender non-binary (i.e., those most likely to be directly affected).

• Federal Government LGBTIQ+ strategies

Suicide and mental health strategy

• Federal Government Policy Initiatives

Reforming policies and practices for assessing refugees seeking asylum on the basis of anti-LGBTIQ+ persecution

2. On a separate topic, participants were asked to select their preferences for LGBTIQ+ representational methods. The majority selected:

An organisation structure that guarantees the interests of smaller population groups (e.g. transgender, intersex, Indigenous and CALD, regional and rural, small states and territories) are not overridden by larger groups.

3. For the last question, which was on the best way to achieve human rights protections, most participants selected “Human rights entrenched in the Constitution” over “Human rights enacted by legislation”.
Rodney Croome, Just.equal