Government urged to ban gay conversion therapy

  • 10/07/2018
Government urged to ban gay conversion therapy
Photo credit: Getty/ file

Queer rights advocates are calling on the Government to ban the practice of gay conversion therapy.

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May said her Government would ban the practice in the United Kingdom, and recent reports of it being widespread in New Zealand.

Gay conversion therapy, an attempt to 'cure' queer people by making them heterosexual, has been widely condemned by medical and mental health organisations.

A TVNZ investigation found it was relatively easy to access religious counsellors offering the practice in New Zealand, including at Nelson-based Christian organisation Living Wisdom.

Rainbow Youth director Frances Arns told RNZ it's "happening a lot in New Zealand" and "it's time for us to put a stop to a really outdated and harmful practice".

According to the Human Rights Commission, any member of the LGBTQI+ community has the right to not be subject to any forms of therapy that are carried out in an attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Human Rights Commission told RNZ in a statement it would support the Government to consider banning the practice.

Following the UK ban, an online petition was launched by the Rodney Area LGBTQ+ group calling on the Government to ban the practice. It has over 2000 signatures.

Labour MP Maja Lubeck has agreed to accept the petition when it's presented to Parliament.