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LGBTQI News Roundup – 18th November 2022

Campaign against Tasmanian proposed conversion therapy ban 

A targeted campaign is being run in Tasmania against plans to ban conversion therapy, including a Liberal MP hosting an upcoming event in Parliament House questioning the move. Survivors of conversion therapies, and LGBTIQA+ groups, argue the campaign fundamentally misrepresents the proposed laws, which would see Tasmania join Victoria, Queensland and the ACT in banning the practices.

Liberal backbencher Lara Alexander (pictured) will host a Free Speech Alliance event in Parliament House on November 23 titled, Conversion therapy laws – risks and harms? An invitation email for the event sent to Tasmanian parliamentarians urges them to attend “in the interest of freedom of speech, open and fair debate”. The email, from campaigner Isla MacGregor, promotes it as a “forum on the contentious changes to Tasmanian law being proposed by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute on the issue of so-called ‘conversion therapy’.”  

The event comes after the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) ran full-page advertisements in the state’s major newspaper which says the laws would “criminalise parents who question their children’s wish to change gender”, but this claim has been widely questioned. Like with the Victorian laws, criminal charges could only be brought if someone experiences serious injury beyond a reasonable doubt due to conversion practices. Medical practitioners are exempt provided they comply with their code of ethics.

US judge rejects Biden administration’s LGBT health protections

A federal judge in Texas on Friday that President Joe Biden’s administration had wrongly interpreted an Obamacare provision as barring health care providers from discriminating against gay and transgender people.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo ruled that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2020 holding that a law barring workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees did not apply to the healthcare law. The ruling by Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump, came in a class action lawsuit by two doctors represented by the America First Legal Foundation, set up by former Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller. They sued after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in May 2021 it would interpret Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars healthcare providers from discriminating on the basis of sex, as extending to sexual orientation and gender identity.  

Kacsmaryk said Congress, when adopting the law, known as Obamacare, in 2010, during the tenure of former Democratic President Barack Obama, could have included “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in the text, but “chose not to do so.” Instead, the law incorporated the bar against discrimination “on the basis of sex” in Title IX, a 50-year-old federal civil rights law that bars such discrimination in education programs.

Pakistan blocks national release of ‘Joyland,’ a story of sexual liberation

Pakistan’s government has blocked the nationwide release of “Joyland,” the first Pakistani movie shown at the Cannes Film Festival, just one week before it was due to hit theaters in the South Asian country. “Joyland” tells a love story between the youngest son of “a happily patriarchal joint family” and a transgender starlet he meets after secretly joining an erotic dance theater, according to a synopsis on the Cannes Film Festival website. 

In August, the country’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) granted a certificate allowing the movie to be released, but on Friday Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notice saying it was now “uncertified.” The official notice said written complaints had been received that the movie contains “highly objectional material” that does not conform with the “social values and moral standards of our society.” Theministry’s notice said cinemas that fall under the CBFC’s jurisdiction cannot show the movie. 

“Joyland” won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the unofficial Queer Palm at Cannes in May. It was then submitted to the Oscars as Pakistan’s official entry for the international feature film award. However, it needs to be in theaters for at least seven days before November 30 to remain in contention for the awards.

Despite being banned from release in Pakistan, “Joyland” could still qualify in this category if it is “theatrically exhibited outside of the U.S. and its territories for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theatre for paid admission,” according to the official Academy rules. 


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