OutLine provides a free peer support group for survivors of conversion practices to connect with other survivors, share their experiences, provide mutual support, and share strategies for healing.
The Conversion Practices Survivor Network has a regular facilitated peer support group that is available to survivors throughout Aotearoa. The group meets online monthly via Zoom.
Survivors can also connect with OutLine’s trained staff facilitators to access information and pathways to other support services.
Who is this service for?
The Conversion Practices Survivor Network is for rainbow people aged 18 upwards throughout Aotearoa who have lived experience of conversion practices.
Conversion practices are actions taken by a person or group to try to change or suppress another person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.
Conversion practices can also include surgeries or medication to change things about intersex people’s bodies to align with endosex expectations, and other practices to make an intersex person’s visible appearance, behaviour or identity conform to the sex they were designated at birth or later in life.
While there is no evidence that conversion practices can change a person’s sexuality or gender, there is significant evidence that they can cause long-term harm and trauma.
People with lived experience of conversion practices are often referred to as survivors.
Conversion practices have been illegal in Aotearoa since 2022. You can learn more about what constitutes a conversion practice, and how to make a complaint, at the website of Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission.
If we get referrals from people younger than 18 we will help them find individual support elsewhere.
What can we help with?
OutLine’s Conversion Practices Survivor Network is a free service that enables survivors from throughout Aotearoa to seek support and connect with other survivors.
Our trained staff facilitators have lived experience as rainbow people and as survivors of conversion practices, and draw on their expertise to create a safe space for survivors from diverse backgrounds.
Our facilitators can assist with referrals to our peer support group, which meets via Zoom to enable participation from survivors around the motu. The monthly meetings allow space for participants to connect with other survivors, share about their experiences of conversion practices and give each other support and share coping strategies for healing.
Our facilitators are also able to provide information to survivors, including help with referrals to other support agencies and counselling services. Where needed, we can also provide one-on-one support for group members.
How does peer support work?
Peer support and ongoing relationships with other survivors can reduce shame and self-doubt by helping participants to process the negative feelings and messages they may have internalised during the conversion practices experience, and understand these are not their fault. The side-by-side/less hierarchical nature of the relationship in peer support can also make it easier for trauma survivors to form relationships of trust. Isolation and the inability to trust other people caused by conversion practices can be worked through very well in a peer support setting.
It is, however, important to note that the Conversion Practices Survivor Network is only one part of someone’s healing journey, and does not negate the need for counselling, other trauma work and/or cultural healing processes.
Survivors of conversion practices are an extremely diverse group, in terms of their rainbow identities as well as their cultural identities, ages and life experiences. Experiences of conversion practices are also very diverse with a range of experiences within religious and cultural settings and within clinical settings.
Our facilitators combine lived experience, existing expertise and additional training as required to ensure they have a deep understanding of this diversity and are equipped to support the complex needs arising from the actual experiences of participating survivors.
How to access this service
If you’d like to access this service, please fill in our referral form to tell us a bit about yourself and what kinds of support you’re looking for.
Once we’ve received your referral, one of our facilitators will get in touch to discuss your specific needs, and assess what other supports you have available in your everyday life. The assessment process may also include referrals to other services or groups relating to conversion practices or other types of mental or social support.
To make a complaint about conversion practices, or for more information on what constitutes a conversion practice, please contact Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission.