There is this appalling practice engaged in by some religious conservatives called conversion therapy.
It is based on the premise that homosexuality is not a normal status for some, but is a condition that can be cured. All that is required is sufficient psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions and hey presto you have a hetrosexual again. As stated by Wikipedia there is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and medical institutions warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective and potentially harmful.
It was Labour policy for the last election. From Henry Lock at Radio New Zealand:
The party announced its Rainbow policies in central Wellington yesterday.
As part of the policy package, it also promised more gender neutral toilets in schools, and additional funding for mental health services.
Conversion therapy is described by US-based charity The Trevor Project as “dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”
A 2018 TVNZ documentary found conversion therapy is available in New Zealand, and is most often practised in private and faith-based institutions.
A recent survey, Counting Ourselves, found that more than one in six research participants reported that they had experienced reparative therapy – that is, a professional had tried to stop them from being trans or non-binary.
“Conversion therapy is based on the misguided idea that people are wrong or broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Labour’s Rainbow spokesperson Tāmati Coffey said. “This is fundamentally wrong.”
Labour joins the Greens as the only parties to have promised to ban conversion therapy.
“Conversion therapy has been linked to severe adverse mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
“That’s why it will be banned under a re-elected Labour government.
“It is a practice that causes harm and is out of place in the kind, inclusive and modern country we are.”
It has overwhelming support among the electorate. TVNZ reported that 72% of kiwis support banning the practice and only 14% oppose it. Clearly even some National supporters think that it should be discontinued.
Which is why it interesting that Simon Bridges has gone all cancel culture on it and claimed that banning the practice would breach the right to freedom of expression.
From Mark Longley at Newshub:
Simon Bridges says he is concerned banning conversion therapy would pander to what he says is a growing cancel culture and would be an attack on free speech.
Bridges, the ex-National Party leader and current spokesperson for Justice, said on The AM Show he wanted to see the details on a proposed Labour bill to ban the controversial practice of conversion therapy.
He said forcing anyone to do something against their will is wrong – including conversion therapy – but he had concerns around making it illegal.
“I personally do have a wider concern. That is freedom of speech. That is in a liberal society, in a tolerant society, we have been very tolerant of different views.
“We are, with this, moving down a track to a situation where it is actually cancel culture.
“If we don’t like it we are going to criminalise it and I do worry about that.”
There are justified limitations to the concept of free speech. Speech that damages or causes harm is subject to regulation. It seems abundantly clear that conversion therapy causes harm.
Also there is the right of members of the LGBTQI community to their own forms of expression. As well as that there is the right against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A “therapist” attempting to persuade someone that their sexual preference is wrong breaches their rights to sort out for themselves their particular orientation.
The design of the law will not be simple. There is a difference between full on “you will burn in hell” rhetoric and the provision of information. The line will have to be drawn carefully.
But Bridges is clearly more interested in continuing to fight losing battles in the culture wars than in addressing an important issue.
Perhaps he has been reading Chris Trotter who recently said:
Inevitably, a political movement will arise to contest the wokeists’ claims and policies. This movement will not, however, be driven by the traditional Left, it will be the creation of an angry and radically populist Right. What’s more, the transformational ambitions of wokeism will provoke its opponents into advancing an equally comprehensive programme of revocation and reconstitution. The result will be a deeply divided society, with tolerance and empathy in short supply.
The backlash against wokeism will be made much more aggressive by the difficulties its opponents encounter in making their voices heard. The mainstream news media – and especially the state-owned media – have become increasingly intolerant of ideas and opinions which directly, or indirectly, challenge the wokeists’ view of the world. Stuff, the largest newspaper publisher in the country has embraced wokeism wholeheartedly and set its face resolutely against the errors of “racist” New Zealanders. Even more significantly, citizens determined to spread “unacceptable” ideas can no longer rely upon the major social media platforms for their dissemination. Increasingly, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are “de-platforming” individuals and groups (including a former President of the United States!) whose beliefs have been anathematised by the woke.
Chris needs to get out more in Aotearoa New Zealand. All that I have witnessed recently is increasing racial and gender tolerance and an acceptance that climate change, as an example, is a scientifically settled fact and the attempts by the deluded to argue otherwise is a waste of bandwidth. The only dissent I have seen is in radio talk back land and in that area the problem is that they have too much free speech, rather than not enough.
Bridges did not attend Waitangi this year. Judith should be careful because it is pretty clear Bridges still harbours leadership aspirations. And fermenting dissent amongst fundamentalist christians is going to be a big part of his campaign.