Imagine that you, or someone you love, suddenly recalls a repressed childhood trauma, one that has generally been successfully assessed, diagnosed and treated multiple times in other individuals.

Imagine that you then approach a reputable physician and ask for help. You explain your trauma only to be told that the law now forbids any clinician from treating you, and also forbids you from travelling to any other medic or pastoral care worker across the nation to seek out help.

Now stop imagining. As of last month, this became reality in parts of Australia.

The regional governments of Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory have both passed laws to criminalise so-called conversion therapy.

What began as a ban on any person who experiences same-sex attraction from getting help has now morphed into the same ban on any adult or minor who might be questioning their biological sex, plus anyone who has already transitioned to imitate the opposite sex and who, with regret, now wishes to return to their true chromosomal sex identity. It also bans parents — yes, parents — from getting the necessary help their children might require when pained with gender dysphoria.

This is no longer a sci-fi or horror screen show. It is law. And the penalty for breaking the law is up to 18 months in jail in Queensland, and up to $24,000 in fines and 12 months’ imprisonment in the ACT.

Queensland’s Health Minister, Steven Miles, a man married to a woman with three children, has adamantly proclaimed to all same-sex attracted and gender questioning Queenslanders, “Being LGBTIQ is not an affliction or disease that requires medical treatment. No treatment or practice can change a person’s sexual attraction or experience of gender… there is nothing wrong with you. You can’t be fixed because you are not broken, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong – your government supports you.”

The ACT’s Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, the first leader of an Australian State or territory government to marry someone of the same-sex, has described conversion therapies as “a form of abuse”, adding “it is a profound violation of human rights”.

Barr’s website tells visitors that he is also the Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, is passionate about supporting Canberra’s diverse community, and has helped shape Canberra to become Australia’s most inclusive city. And yet the ACT’s law has even ensured it is now a legal offence to take a person outside of the ACT for any sexuality or gender-related therapy or pastoral care unless it is LGBTQ+ affirming.

Of course, all Canberrans with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender dysphoria experience this condescending outlook as socially exclusive, as a failure to embrace diversity, and the epitome of inequality. It is a form of abuse and a profound violation of their human rights.

I came out a good decade before Barr, and as a frontline gay activist fought that we would both have the rights to choose the unique direction of our futures. My outlook then was the same as Barr’s and Miles’s today, and I would have wholly backed both legislative interventions — until my life turned an unexpected corner.

The model long-term gay relationship I had found after the common labyrinth of homosexual promiscuity began to hit some emotional hurdles. Sensibly, I chose to enter regular therapy.

Over a period of time, several issues rose to the fore: an underlying fear of rejection, deep commitment issues, struggles with anxiety, even an intrinsic fear of the average guy.

Let us be really clear. The harrowing horror stories told by gay-straight conversion documentaries and 21st century LGBTQ+ activists do not apply here. In fact, they never have applied to Australia.

I underwent cognitive therapy to challenge my core beliefs, behavioural therapy to change problematic actions trained through years of reinforcement, and EMDR which helped to dampen the power of traumatic memories.

My therapists never solely focused on sexual attraction, but my “being gay” had to be a part of our dialogues, otherwise I would have been leaving a portion of my lived reality at the therapists’ doors. The same dialogues I had then would be deemed illegal today.

My therapy uncovered a mountain of crippling pain.

I had been born premature, abandoned at birth, incubated, fostered, orphaned and adopted and saw myself as rejected by men even as a small infant.

I had made an inner vow never to deeply trust men, so, by my teens, men were a complete mystery, even an obsession, which led me to erotically crave them through copious amounts of pornography and fantasy.

I had thrown myself into a world of the feminine and had no masculine counterbalance. I often believed myself to be a woman trapped in a man’s body, and had considered hormones and mutilating surgery to escape the inner turmoil.

Therapy, adjoined with spiritual discipline, drew me out of my miry pit. It challenged my core beliefs and behaviours around my looks, my body, my walk, my perceptions and gave me permission to think, as well as to do, things differently.

It helped me to face repressed memories of extensive childhood sex abuse which included my having been raped while still a teenager on three occasions by three different gay men, years before I had reached the age of consent.

Within a few years of appropriate therapy, my insatiable eroticisation of men diminished. This had never been my plan. I had been told that I was born gay and would always be gay. I had wholly accepted this and had fallen hook, line and sinker for this same narrative which Barr and Miles still espouse.

Unexpectedly, I began to see woman as I had never seen her before. As men stopped being a mystery, woman became the mystery I desired to pursue. I then dated women and eventually married one and today I love being a father.

Yes, therapy did convert me. I became my truest self in line with my biology and fertility.

For years I had believed that I would incessantly preach that people are born gay and must never entertain attempts to change. The opposite has become true.

Without the courageous health service providers who could see beyond the “can’t change” mantra years before I could, I would never have uncovered my childhood sex abuse which in turn led me to being a key witness in a court case some years later that saw a prolific pedophile convicted of his crimes.

Banning my access to therapy would have prevented me uncovering knowledge of historical abuse, which would have led to a now convicted pedophile still being free to roam and abuse more children.

It is not surprising that the greater majority of Australians I walk alongside today, those with unwanted same-sex attraction or who question their gender, admit to knowingly having been sexually abused as minors.

Even in recent days, 21-year-old openly gay global YouTube sensation, Lohanthony (Anthony Quintal), backs up what I am saying. He has insinuated that sexual assault during his childhood led to him identifying as gay and wanting to pursue same-sex relationships.

Many of his online fans, who have only known Lohanthony as “unapologetically gay, outspoken and larger-than-life”, are concerned for him. Why? Because he has dared to step off the LGBTQ+ conveyor belt to pursue chastity. As he faces his childhood trauma, he now has the additional harassment of being rejected once again and blamed for promoting conversion therapy.

Lohanthony remains the same same-sex attracted creative young adult that he was previously, only now he has chosen to take a different pathway.

Yes, we are witnessing a larger dose of the same bigotry, intolerance, exclusion, hate-mongering and phobia delivered by LGBTQ+ leaders which they proclaim is poured upon their community by everyone else. Only now, the LGBTQ+ macro minority and their regimented allies (including all regional politicians who voted in favour to ban therapy) publicly vilify and bully the micro minority of detransitioners and those with unwanted same-sex attraction who desire therapy.

One 20-year-old male with unwanted same-sex attraction from Brisbane commented:

The recovery journey I recently began has decreased my depression, addictions and raging anxiety, and given me hope to reach my full potential. I want more counselling and avenues of access to people who understand the causes of my issues, not total lockdown. Since my government passed this law, I feel completely betrayed and am being plunged into greater depression and increased anxiety. The message they’re sending is that they don’t respect me. They’re forcing me to embrace something I don’t want to embrace. That’s not their decision to make. It’s mine.

There is the 54-year-old man who, after having spent 19 years living as a faux-woman having had his genitals and fertility surgically removed which then required his children to call him mum rather than dad, is now detransitioning and having to deeply grieve being fast-tracked away from his biological sex after a mere two consultations with so-called insightful medics.

Then there is the 28-year-old male who, two years after rejecting his long-term gay relationship, speaks of having been “an addict filled with impulses I couldn’t control, with anxiety and depression, and no direction of where I was going”.

He adds:

Now my anxiety has significantly reduced. My depression has lifted. I have direction and hope for the future. I no longer prostitute myself, hustle drugs, steal men from their women, or try to escape reality. Many only tried to make my life comfortable rather than find me help to face the underlying discomforts and pains of my past. The support and therapy I now receive are helping me to address childhood traumas, to make my own life decisions, and to make long-term change imaginable.

What about minors who seek support in their struggles?

An 18-year-old with unwanted same-sex attraction who started therapy when aged 16 after flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse stated: “My pain’s slowly been reducing but now I’m getting really stressed about this new law. I’m feeling more vulnerable than ever. It feels as though politicians are now attacking me personally when I am the one who was wronged and hurt as a kid.”

Politicians now deliberately ignore stories like Lohanthony’s, and the hundreds of ex-LGBTQ+ witnesses on websites like Changed, Two Prisms, Free To Change, and TrueLove.Is. They also despise and ignore the stories of taxpayers on their own doorsteps.

Regrettably, certain medical practices have now overtaken common sense in the area of human sexuality. Although clinicians declare their commitment to their profession and their patients with a declaration that states:

The health of my patient will be my first consideration; I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient; I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat…

Few doctors are willing, and sufficiently energised, to challenge the deliberate sexual distortion which for 50 years has affected every stratum of our global society.

One of the goals of LGBTQ+ strategists has been to increase the numbers in their ranks, which the Safe Schools Program has in part been achieving very well. We now see significant numbers of minors queueing up to consume dangerous hormones and to have healthy body parts mutilated, and more young adults than ever now identifying as non-heterosexual and raising their children without reference to male or female. We are no longer far from the maddening crowd.

As bullies fail to face their own inner challenges and drag down those they perceive to be above them in order to bring about not just a feeling of equality but of superiority (which is what I was taught to do as a gay activist) so today we are now seeing LGBTQ+ cultish beliefs “violating human rights and civil liberties” and all of this “under [the] threat” of copious fines and incarceration.

Regional governments’ new therapy legislations do not support their citizens. They prevent justice and promote harm and demonstrate another blatant theft of both citizens’ and parents’ rights.

Every decent Australian who cares about children and vulnerable adults — and that includes Mr Miles’ children and any possible grandchildren — should challenge and outrightly reject laws that shut down proven beneficial therapy, pastoral care and the freedom of passage to access these.

Therapists and pastors who genuinely care for those in pain are not the true abusers. Rather, it is the politicians who have taken on lead roles to proclaim misleadingly that a person cannot change sexual attraction or experience of gender when this is simply untrue. With access to the appropriate treatment and practice, a person can change sexual attraction and experience of gender.

People are often broken, and can be fixed, and it is the role of regional governments to support and not brutally oppose an individual’s chosen pathway to therapeutic hope and restoration.

Now imagine how wonderful it would be if this were a reality right across Australia.

James Parker was a gay rights’ activist. He now facilitates True Identity, an informal network that supports those struggling with sexuality & gender identity issues.