Conversion Therapy Consultation – A Lesbian Perspective

Banning conversion therapy which prevents anyone from attempting to ‘cure’ or change a person’s sexual orientation is welcome news. However, the proposed legislation lumps sexual orientation in with gender identity. These are two very different things which in fact contradict each other in the context of conversion therapy, making this proposed bill unworkable and dangerous.

Conversion therapy for sexual orientation happens because people take issue with who we love and who we are attracted to – namely a member of the same sex (natal women) – and attempting to force us to be attracted to the opposite sex (natal men). Specifically for lesbians, conversion therapy covers a whole host of behaviors from pressure to have sex with men: “You just need a good f***”, “You haven’t met the right man yet”, “I’ll show you what a man really is” etc. or talking therapies which attempt to ‘treat’ the ‘illness’ of same sex attraction, through to corrective rape.

Young women who come out as lesbian in the rainbow community nowadays will invariably be asked when they will be transitioning to male – “if you like girls then that means you’re a boy – are you sure you’re not trans?”. Many of us who have short hair are asked about preferred pronouns far more often than colleagues or friends who are ‘gender conforming’. Many young lesbians in fact tell us they attempted transitioning to avoid lesophobia. We consider this a form of conversion therapy.

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