NSW has banned LGBTQA+ conversion practices

The NSW Parliament has officially passed legislation outlawing LGBTQA+ conversion therapies, with practitioners facing five years in jail.
NSW has banned LGBTQA+ conversion practices

The NSW Parliament has officially banned LGBTQA+ conversion practices across the state.

It means practices aimed at changing or suppressing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are now illegal.

Evidence suggests survivors of these practices commonly experience complex trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anyone found providing conversion practices (sometimes known as “conversion therapy”) could face up to five years in prison.

LGBTQA+ conversion

Conversion practices have historically been used as an attempt to suppress or change the identity of LGBTQA+ people.

Around 10% of LGBTQA+ Australians are vulnerable to conversion practices, according to a 2018 report by the Human Rights Law Centre and La Trobe University.

Earlier this month, NSW introduced legislation to outlaw the practice.

NSW ban

Independent MP Alex Greenwich tried to legislate a ban on LGBTQA+ conversion practices last year in NSW before the Government introduced its own legislation on the matter.

Labor said it consulted widely with victim-survivors of conversion therapies, along with concerned faith-based groups.

The Government’s laws passed the NSW Legislative Council (upper house) this week, banning conversion practices under civil and criminal law — meaning penalties can include fines or jail time.


The legislation includes exemptions to ensure medical professionals can continue providing gender-affirming treatment to transgender people.

There are also exemptions for some religious settings. NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley said it doesn’t stop people from seeking advice “within their faith”, but that any guidance within a religious setting should not lead to sustained efforts to change someone’s gender or sexual identity.

Opposition and crossbench members in the Legislative Council sought to change the legislation with several amendments.

For example, One Nation’s Tania Mihailuk wanted parents or close relatives found practising conversion on an underage person to be exempt from the legislation.

Mihailuk and others’ amendments were ultimately unsuccessful.

After debate continued overnight, the bill passed early Friday morning. Greenwich said: “The sun rises today on a state that is safer for LGBTQ people“.


Upper house Labor member Penny Sharpe said the bill reflected the community’s attitude that “there is nothing broken about anyone in the LGBTIQ community and there is nothing that needs to be fixed”.

NSW Liberal Chris Rath said the bill “sends a powerful message… a message I wish I heard back when I was 18”.

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown called on all jurisdictions to fully ban conversion therapies “no matter where they occur, including in religious settings”. Swipe to see the status of conversion bans around the country.

Conversion practices in Australia

NSW LGBTQA+ conversion

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