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Labour Member's Bill to put an end to conversion therapy

Marja Lubeck

Labour List MP based in Rodney
31 October 2018 MEDIA STATEMENT

Labour Party Member's Bill to put an end to conversion therapy

Labour MP Marja Lubeck today lodged a Member's Bill to put an end to so-called conversion therapy in New Zealand.

"This Bill will put a stop to conversion therapy in New Zealand. This harmful practice has no place in this country," Ms Lubeck says.

The Prohibition of Conversion Therapy Bill prohibits any person from advertising, offering, or performing a treatment that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in New Zealand.

"Conversion therapy is unproven, widely condemned and does not reflect the values of a modern and compassionate New Zealand.

“My Bill is based on a piece of legislation currently being considered by the Irish Parliament and which has broad cross party support over there.

“It’s important everyone gets to grow up being who they are and expressing themselves naturally, not hiding themselves or being told who they are is wrong. This Bill is really about supporting young people to be proud of who they are.

"This is about doing what's right. I hope all politicians approach this Bill with an open mind and support the rights of young people to be who they are and live open positive lives.

"Since Sunday’s incredible story earlier this year, I have been working with community groups and with my colleagues across political parties to ensure this Bill will prevent further harm resulting from conversion therapy. I believe this isn’t a political issue, this is a human rights issue.

“This Bill is a straightforward legislative fix to prevent further physical and emotional suffering as a result of conversion therapy," Ms Lubeck says.

Note for editors

• Conversion therapy is defined by UK-based LGBT charity Stonewall as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to reduce or stop same-sex attraction or to suppress a person’s gender identity.”

• An investigation by TVNZ’s Sunday in June 2018 found it “surprisingly easy’ to find people or organisations offering conversion therapy for sexual orientation in New Zealand. As part of Sunday’s story, clinical psychologist Rita Csako said conversion therapy “leads to anxiety, depressive symptoms and in severe cases even suicide,"

• Conversion therapy has been opposed by numerous organisations, including the United Nations Committee against Torture, the Royal College of Psychiatrists London, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Australian Medical Association.

• Closer to home, the NZ Association of Psychotherapists and the NZ Association of Counsellors believe that conversion therapy is in breach of every ethical requirement for practitioners.

• This Bill is modelled on the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill currently before Ireland’s Seanad Éireann, which is progressing with cross-party support.


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