The incidents portrayed in this story are inspired by real stories, but all names and other identifying details have been changed.
‘I was told that my homosexuality was a sin.’
‘I didn’t realise what I had experienced were conversion practices until after I came out.
I was raised in a Christian household and church was my community, my second home and my family.
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.
I was told that my homosexuality was a sin and that if I prayed every day to ask God for forgiveness and to give me strength to ignore and forget these sinful thoughts and feelings, I would redeem myself.
I felt I had to decide between my sexual orientation and the church, and I felt that to be excluded from my church family was not an option for me.
I craved a community who would accept me for who I am. I did find them, but internalised homophobia still plays out for me sometimes. There are lots of places in church where I am included, but there are still many places where I am not.’
How does the law apply to Olly’s situation?
Under the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021, it’s against the law to try to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This means Olly’s church leader cannot tell Olly to ignore their feelings of same-sex attraction and cannot encourage Olly to seek redemption from God by ‘praying away’ her sexual orientation.
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.
Reading this story 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.