Victorians are waking up to new freedoms as lockdown restrictions are eased. But don’t believe that Victoria is to be lockdown-free. Oh, no.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews is pushing for a more intolerant and undignified lockdown with proposed fines and arrests that for some will include a lifetime interior jail sentence if the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 presented this past week before the Victorian State Parliament is passed.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton welcomed the introduction of the bill. It seeks to penalise talking therapy – even saying a prayer — when related to human sexuality, unless it assists a person to transition from their biological sex to a new, self-declared “gender identity”, or to help a person who has previously identified as heterosexual to explore anything non-heterosexual.

“This Bill makes clear that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not a disorder, disease, illness or shortcoming,” Hilton said. “It affirms to all LGBTQ Victorians that they are not broken and do not need fixing – directly countering the harmful messages that sit at the core of LGBTQ change and suppression practices.”

Victoria’s Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the draft bill targeted “cruel and bigoted practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity … no-one is ‘broken’ because of their sexuality or gender identity”.

The other side of abuse 

I assume that Commissioner Hilton has not been neglected, adopted, incessantly abused, molested, raped, pornographied during her childhood, or affected by trauma that has left her with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. All of these transpired in my childhood and led me to becoming a gay rights activist.

And Hilton has the nerve to say that people with my life experiences aren’t disordered? Without therapy and prayer, I would likely have eventually become another suicide statistic.

This bill is going to increase suicides, depression, and anxiety. It will leave people trapped in their trauma.

What gives Hilton the right to deny her fellow Australians their human right to face the crippling effects of their histories in a therapeutic, prayerful or even basic conversation?

Her demeanour screams inequality.

Hilton also said that “LGBTIQ Victorians are welcome and valued members of our community, entitled to live their lives authentically and with dignity and safety.” No one disagrees.

But what about ex-LGBTQ+ Victorians? Are they not welcome and valued community members worthy of dignity and safety?

Is she not Commissioner for both?

There is a micro minority community of those with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria,. Some later identify as ex-LGBTQ+. These people recognise that many are happy to identify as LGBTQ+. They respect this choice, many of them having previously self-identified as LGBTQ+ — often for decades.

And there is a macro minority who celebrate and now proselytise continuously and ubiquitously for the pro-LGBTQ+ agenda. The difference is that the macro minority bully, lie, and vilify those with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria who do not wish to live with these feelings.

They work tirelessly to erode their fellow Australians’ fundamental human rights by intimidating any same-sex attracted or gender dysphoric person who dares to ask questions. They also threaten those who offer proven help or support in any form.

Leah Gray speaks about her experience. From the Free to Change website

Who will speak for people with unwanted same-sex attraction?

Hilton and Hennessy should have done their research. They should have listened to those with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. They should have taken on board the numerous success stories of change.

They simply have not done their homework. How can they propose a law banning therapy and prayer based on a 21-page consultative report which features a mere four undated and anonymous “survivor” stories, all of which involve Christians with same-sex attraction, none with gender identity issues, and with no reference to a single story where therapy or prayer has proven to be highly successful?

Dated, accessible, stories of 70-plus individuals – some of them named – who have each experienced positive and often enduring change since leaving the LGBTQ+ community, are available at the Free To Change website. The results of this research are phenomenal and need to become widely known.

Let’s talk about human rights abuse

This debate is not about therapy or even prayer. It is about basic human rights.

If you had uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, would you want your freedom to be released from them to be taken away? Or for these freedoms to be denied to your children, your nieces and nephews, or to your grandchildren?

LGBTQ+ lobbyists and Big Pharma are leading ill-informed puppet-politicians to enact legislation that reeks of exclusivity, intolerance, hatred, and bigotry under the guise of promoting justice and preventing harm.

Interestingly, the term “conversion therapy” has never knowingly been used in a therapeutic or religious context in Australia. It is deliberately deceptive and is used to close off any avenue which fails to celebrate the LGBTQ+ agenda.

A reformed smoker can be a painful sight to a tobacconist or a chain-smoking colleague. But should they silence, fine and jail a reformed smoker or his Twelve Step buddies for helping him attain a life goal that is a basic human right?

But this is exactly what pro-LGBTQ+ politicians want to do. They want to deny some Victorians their basic human rights and keep them imprisoned in harmful and dangerous mental, emotional and often physical anguish. Their draconian leglisation has maximum penalties of $10,000 fines and 10 years in prison.

They have mocked “pray away the gay (and trans)” even though prayer has for many over a committed period of time brought about nothing short of miraculous results. This new bill builds on the Safe Schools mantra of “prey ‘til they become gay (and trans)” and has its own mantra of “you must stay gay (and trans)”.

They are willing to prosecute parents should they encourage their children to stay away from LGBTQ+ propaganda or if they fail to celebrate their children’s non-heterosexual decisions.

It is possible to change

None of this is needed. In this week alone I have seen light rising out of darkness in the lives of several people with whom I have spoken, some who engaged at the heart of Melbourne’s LGBTQ+ community.

Philippe, a 29-year-old male who lived “out and proud” as a gay man for ten years, wrote only this week:

[I was] very promiscuous, using men in a way that I now see was abusive of them and of me, sometimes working as an escort to satisfy my own addiction to sex. I partied, hooked up with numerous men, binged on alcohol.

Eventually, a season of depression and social anxiety kicked in. I smoked marijuana to cope with the anxiety. This helped me to temporarily escape the painful realities of my life. I smoked up to the point of going to work, returning home to smoke at lunchtime, and later smoking after work until I was “greened out”.

I constantly used men to douse the gnawing, ever-present emptiness inside, getting off with two or three guys a day just to feel some form of temporal connection. But after every hook up, I still felt empty.

One day, whilst at home getting high and listening to music, I broke down, got onto my knees and pleaded: “Lord, please take away my pain and have Your way in me.” This is when God started to prune my life.

That was two years ago. I was slowly convicted about homosexual practice. A year later, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend. Through ongoing therapy and prayer, my heart is now miraculously changing. I am being fine-tuned into the man that I now see I was created to be.

Then there is a 28-year-old male, Dexter, who for 18 months lived in rural Victoria and only recently left to find support due to the rapid downward spiral of his mind, emotions and morals whilst living in the State. This is what he said:

My stress levels became insane. I had never experienced anxiety before but began to suffer really badly, such that depression set in.

My acting out sexually with other men tripled overnight and led to a full-blown addiction. My dabbling in porn became so commonplace that I couldn’t go through a day without several lengthy visits to hardcore sites.

My ability to socialise began to decrease. People became objects to devour in my mind rather than subjects worthy of dignity.

Every man I hooked up with had his own tragic story. Each one was looking for identity, for a heart connection, and none knew how to achieve this, myself included. One guy was adopted and talked longingly of wanting to know his real parents. Another guy was divorced. His ex-wife had taken everything from him. He was clearly seriously heartbroken in the process. I remember him saying repeatedly, “I’ve had it with women.”

Living out my same-sex attraction left me in a place of despair, feeling trapped and lonelier than ever. I’m one of the lucky ones to have found informed help today and a whole new community of healthy support.

There is also the 38-year old tradesman, married to a woman and with two children, who continues to occasionally struggle with his sexual attraction. In therapy, he is nobly addressing the times when, aged 15 onwards, his drinks were spiked and he was regularly drugged by members of Melbourne’s gay community who proceeded to take advantage of him whilst repeatedly telling him that he was really gay, when clearly he wasn’t.

What about the 54-year-old genetic male who, in his 30s, was questioning whether or not he was a woman? He spoke to the nurse alongside him while awaiting surgery to remove male genitalia in a Melbourne hospital and said, “I don’t think I’m ready for this.” The nurse responded that surgery would soon be over and everything would be fine.

After attempting to live as a woman for 19 years, everything wasn’t fine. He is now detransitioning back to his biological sex. No one sought to address underlying issues which are now incredibly visible to him and which require ongoing informed pastoral care.

Slow down. Consult first

Are Hilton and Hennessey, under Andrews’ authority, going to deny these men an opportunity to improve their lives, each one of whom was seriously damaged whilst in Victoria? Each one admits in some way to still being disordered, dis-eased, ill and with shortcomings. But with therapy and prayer they are making progress.

More community consultation is needed. People need to be given the opportunity to make their stories known to a Standing Committee which takes public submissions. To fail to do so, to suppress practices which bring about positive change for people in pain, is criminal. Such a lockdown should not be tolerated by any civilised society.

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