Beauty / Wellbeing

Instagram has banned content promoting conversion therapy


In some extremely late-to-the-party but good nonetheless news, Instagram has recently banned content that promotes or supports Conversion Therapy for LGBTQI+ folks from the platform.

Instagram will be expanding its policies on hate speech to now include promotion or support of Conversion Therapy, and users will be blocked from posting positive testimonials of the barbaric practice, exceptions for those in a legislative position or context will apply. In a statement from Instagram's public policy director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Tara Hopkins has said: “We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services,”.

Unfortunately, Conversion Therapy is not yet illegal in Australia, and only recently have Queensland attempted to introduce legislation that would make the practice of conversion therapy punishable by up to 18 months in jail. This decision was following a 2018 Human Rights Law Centre review into conversion therapy practices in Australia, which has the support of the Australian Psychological Society and the Queensland Human Rights Commission. While many members of the government have publicly opposed Conversion Therapy, no further legislation has been passed.

Conversion Therapy is banned in 19 states in the US and is still legal in the UK, where celebrities including Munroe Bergdorf, Elton John and Dua Lipa are currently petitioning for it to become illegal.

While Australia likes to think of itself as progressive since the 'yes' vote for same-sex marriage in 2017, we still have a long way to go when it comes to protecting queer and trans youth from anti-LGBTQI+ religious groups in this country. Conversion Therapy is used in an effort to assimilate queer or trans youth and the unfortunate reality is that their caregivers have the legal right to put them through it, in attempt to “reverse” their identity. Conversion Therapy in Australia and globally is insidious, often secret, and extremely harmful to the LBGTQI+ community. It is a violent and often lethal form of suppression of the queer and trans community. Common Conversion Therapy methods for "reversal" include electric shock therapy, masturbation reconditioning, being deprived of sustenance, chemically induced nausea and hypnosis.

Conversion Therapy and the practices and beliefs that it is built on tells LGBTQI+ folks that their existence is an abomination and that their identity should assimilate at all costs. It is a dangerous and barbaric practice that should never be up for debate and will continue to put the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQI+ youth at risk as long as it remains legal.