A recent study by LaTrobe University found one in 20 LGBTQIA+ youth in Australia have undergone conversion therapy - a practice Tasmanian advocates say remains prevalent in the state.
The national study surveyed 6418 LGBTQIA+ young people aged between 14 and 21 and found 265 individuals had undergone sexual or gender identity - or SOGI - conversion practices. Of those, 144 had attended the therapy in the past 12 months.
LGBTQIA+ advocate and Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome AM said many members of the community were unaware that conversion practices were still occurring.
"Many people, including politicians, don't realise that this is still happening," he said.
"I have personally met and spoken with 13 survivors who undertook conversion therapy in Tasmania and still live in Tasmania."
Statistics from LGBTQIA+ Health Australia for 2021 found LGBTQIA+ youth are more likely to experience and be diagnosed with a mental health condition, and are at a higher risk of suicide when compared to the general population.
The impact of conversion therapies appears to increase these risk factors, the study suggests.
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It found that LGBTQIA+ youth who underwent conversion therapy were at a higher risk of psychological distress and mental health conditions, self-harm and suicide than other LGBTQIA+ youth.
Additionally, youth who had attended conversion practices were found to be three and a half times more likely to have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
The report comes after calls from the United Nations for a global ban on conversion therapy practices.
The UN's independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, said conversion practices were inherently degrading and discriminatory.
"[They are] rooted in the belief that LGBT persons are somehow inferior, and that they must at any cost modify their orientation or identity to remedy that supposed inferiority," he said.
"Such practices constitute an egregious violation of rights to bodily autonomy, health, and free expression of one's sexual orientation and gender identity."
Mr Croome said that Equality Tasmanian continued to come in to contact with survivors of conversion therapy practices in all three regions of Tasmania.
"It's important to remember that these practices are damaging and are being performed by people who see themselves as self-styled therapists," he said.
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"Often with theory based on Freudisms that have been discredited by modern-day psychology."
The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is currently finalising its report into conversion therapy practices.
Equality Tasmania has launched a support group for survivors of conversion therapy. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lifeline 13 11 14