GPs, psychologists who impose religion on LGBTIQ patients still operating, says Labor MP

Si Gladman / 23 February 2024

Doctors and psychologists who treat LGBTIQ patients with prayers and scripture continue to operate in South Australia, a Labor member of parliament has claimed.

In a speech to the state’s Legislative Council earlier this month, Ian Hunter stepped up calls for his own government to outlaw “predatory conversion practices” 

He revealed the personal story of a patient named Sam to highlight how some doctors and psychologists were breaching their professional codes of practice in imposing their religious views.

In Sam’s case, a doctor provided scriptures and urged them to pray more to address the body dysmorphia Sam experienced as a teenager. Later, a Mormon psychologist told Sam they had the wrong god and should become Mormon.

He said Sam claimed that the psychologist was continuing to practice.


“So there are professionals engaging in conversion practices behind closed doors, peddling their religious views about gender and sexuality in moments of vulnerability in their patients’ lives, when they are expected to provide professional and impartial healthcare services,” Mr Hunter said.

“Predatory conversion practices must end in our state, and we must hold to account these rogue operators who breach their professional codes of practice to manipulate queer people seemingly with immunity. 

“This is not an issue for the too-hard basket. This is an issue of holding practitioners to account to keep their religion out of health care and put the health outcomes of vulnerable young queer people first.”

In November last year, Mr Hunter used a speech in parliament to call on the Labor state government “move in step with the other states” and territories, such as Victoria, the ACT and Queensland, to outlaw conversion practices.

Other states including New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia are also considering introducing bans on gay conversion practices.

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Si Gladman is Campaign & Communications Coordinator for the Rationalist Society of Australia. He also hosts ‘The Secular Agenda’ podcast.

All the more reason.