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About the Act

Everyone has the right to be treated equally and without discrimination. Practices that seek to change or hide someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity are harmful and unlawful. The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 bans these change or suppression practices and provides a range of options for preventing and responding to them.

View and download a full copy of the Act

Watch our video explainer about the law

This 3-minute video explains that in Victoria, the law bans practices that try to change or hide someone’s sexuality or gender.

The law says that “all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, (should) feel welcome and valued… and are able to live authentically and with pride.”

We worked with Knuckles Animation Studio to deliver this impactful animation.

What are change or suppression practices?

Change or suppression practices are deeply harmful practices which seek to change or hide an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They are sometimes referred to as ‘gay conversion’ practices or ‘conversion therapy’.

These practices are not supported by medical research. There is no evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed or suppressed.

Practices can include teachings, counselling, spiritual care activities, or other psychological or medical interventions based on the ideology that there is something wrong or broken about people with diverse sexualities or gender identities.

There is nothing wrong or broken about being LGBTQA.

These practices can involve people receiving subtle and repeated messages, that with faith and effort, they can change or hide their sexual orientation or gender identity.

What does the Act do

The Act bans change or suppression practices and provides a range of options for preventing and responding to these practices. These options are trauma- and survivor-informed. We will continue to involve survivors in the review and development of these options as they evolve.

This approach reflects the first recommendation of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts Statement (SOGICE Statement) that ‘survivors must be equal partners defining the movement.’

The Act includes:

  • a broad definition of change or suppression practices
  • civil (non-criminal) options for preventing and responding to change or suppression practices
  • four new criminal offences for:
    • practices that cause injury or serious injury
      • injury: physical injury or harm to mental health, whether temporary or permanent
      • serious injury: an injury (including the cumulative effect of more than one injury) that endangers life or is substantial and protracted
    • taking someone outside Victoria for a change or suppression practice that causes injury
    • advertising a change or suppression practice.

The criminal offences will be overseen by Victoria Police. The Commission may also bring proceedings for the offence of advertising a change or suppression practice.

What is the Commission’s role?

The Act includes a civil (non-criminal) response scheme run by the Commission to support survivors and address the harm they have endured.

The Act empowers us to consider and respond to reports of change or suppression practices from any person, as well as launch investigations and enforce outcomes where there is evidence of serious or systemic change or suppression practices.

Responses to reports are survivor- and trauma-informed, focusing on education and facilitation processes.

The focus on educative and facilitative functions reflects that the most effective way to prohibit and eliminate change or suppression practices is through long-term cultural change. Without education and facilitation, such practices are likely to be pushed underground. This approach will also ensure that any response can be shaped to meet the needs and wishes of the affected person.

The four new criminal offences within the Act will be overseen by Victoria Police. The Commission may also bring proceedings for the offence of advertising a change or suppression practice.

Victorians with intersex variations

Change and suppression practices do not include forced medical interventions on people with intersex variations.

Of course, some people with intersex variations are LGBTQA and have been subject to change and suppression practices.

The Victorian Government’s future directions for Victoria’s Intersex community ‘(i) Am Equal’ aims to improve the treatment and care of people, especially infants and children, with an intersex variation.

People with intersex variations are now better protected from discrimination – with sex characteristics added as a protected attribute in the Equal Opportunity Act (2010) on 26 October 2021.

Read more:

Information book for LGBTQA people with disability

All of the information in this book is in easy English for LGBTQA people with intellectual disability.

Download the information book (PDF).

The information in this book can help you to understand that someone cannot try to change who you are as a LGBTQA person. There is information and examples, and who to speak to for help.

It is always okay to be LGBTQA.

Information in Auslan

Information in your language

If you need more information in your language, email us.

Translated fact sheets available now

Translated fact sheets to come

  • Amharic
  • Dinka (audio)
  • Korean
  • Nuer (audio)
  • Oromo (audio)
  • Punjabi
  • Somali
  • Tigrinya
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Read more about change or suppression practices

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges that we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.