Young homosexual couple embracing during a symbolic wedding ceremony for gays and lesbians held at Juarez Square in Mexico City 14 Feb 2006. hugging, rear view homosexuality generic
Young homosexual couple embracing during a symbolic wedding ceremony for gays and lesbians held at Juarez Square in Mexico City 14 Feb 2006. hugging, rear view homosexuality generic

Gay therapy ban fails to fix real issue, expert claims

A senior university lecturer has welcomed Queensland's recent laws banning the use of gay conversion therapies, saying the real focus should be on society's fear of homosexuality.

Trevor Gates is a senior lecturer in social work with the University of the Sunshine Coast, and a member of the National LGBTI Health Alliance, Australia.

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His specialist areas of knowledge include gender and sexuality, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues, social work direct practice, human behaviour, workplace behaviour and online and blended education.

Dr Gates was supportive of the state's recent ban on conversion therapy.

According Dr Gates, the therapies included interventions ranging from aversion therapy, including at the most extreme shock therapy and other interventions that purportedly aimed to mend relationships with parents and caregivers.

"Some … young people have subjected to these treatments against their will," he said.

"Some former proponents of conversion therapy have later themselves come out … and condemned the practice."

Dr Gates claimed the bans protected the most vulnerable in the LGBTIQ+ communities, including children, adolescents and young adults.

"Strengths-based, sexual orientation and gender affirmative therapies are the most appropriate form of intervention," he said.

According to the USC lecturer, the real issue was not with the individual, but with society as a whole.

"What needs to be cured is societal homophobia and transphobia, not sexual orientation and gender diversity," Dr Gates said.

"Social workers and other mental professionals should be focusing their efforts on changing homophobic and transphobic beliefs and institutions, not on … people themselves."