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Real stories of change and suppression practices

Practices 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 and gender identities.


There is nothing wrong with being LGBTIQ. LGBTIQ people are not broken, and they do not need to be fixed.

These stories portray real experiences of change or suppression practices, with names and identifying details changed.

‘It was harmful to hear that something that is deeply a part of me had another origin and could be fixed.’

‘I told my therapist that I was queer. My therapist told me that there were other reasons why I felt this way. They told me that was not in fact, asexual or non-binary and that it can be worked on – it can be fixed. I was told that if I worked on it, I would be able to engage is sexuality as a “normal” person.’

Read Bo’s full story

‘My whole existence of being transgender was denied. I was told by other Muslims that I would go to hell after I die.’

‘I was raised in a conservative Muslim household. As early as seven years old, I knew that I was different.

I first began my transition while attending a religious school. Following my transition, I was sent by staff members to a rehabilitation centre along with other trans students.’

Read Afra’s full story

'My doctor’s referral letter said I had a mental illness – that I suffered from attraction to men and that I needed fixing.'

‘I was told by the Coptic Church and their doctors that I was fixable if I just had enough faith and trust in God.

Who was I to question these experts?’

Read Darwish’s full story

'I was told that my homosexuality was a sin.'

‘I was never really interested in boys. I thought I was just being a good Christian girl.

When I started asking questions, I was told that if I was interested in a girl, I wouldn’t be allowed in the church.

My church leader told me many times to ignore my feelings and interest in other girls, and to focus on my faith.’

Read Olly’s full story

'My parents sent me to an overseas live-in program to try to ‘cure’ me from being gay and non-binary.'

‘My earliest childhood memories are grounded in fear.

From my parents and the Church, I learnt that if you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart when you die, you’ll be separated from family and friends forever.’

Read Sam’s full story

Are you in a similar situation?

You can make a report to identify a person or an organisation who has tried to change or suppress your sexual orientation or gender identity.  

A report is made with the intent to: 

  • show the harm of these practices 
  • have your story heard  
  • seek an outcome (facilitation, education or investigation)  
  • stop these practices from happening. 

Read more about how you can make a report. 

Support services

We recognise reading these stories may have caused distress. These services can help:

Rainbow Door is a free specialist LGBTIQA+ helpline providing information, support, and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their family, and friends.
Contact: 1800 729 367 or 0480 017 246 (SMS) or

Beyond Blue provides 24-hour information, advice and support for people affected by anxiety, depression, and suicide.
Contact: 1300 224 636

A full list of affirming faith organisations, LGBTIQ support organisations and crisis and mental health services can be found on our ‘Have you experienced a change or suppression practice?’ page.

Read more about change or suppression practices

Have you experienced a change or suppression practice?

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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.