As Australia looks to act on LGBT conversion practices, survivors and religious groups speak out

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01/17/2020

Raised in an ultra-conservative Anglican family, transgender woman Roe Johnson says she spent her childhood being told she was broken. The 49-year-old from Melbourne says she lived an ideology of repression and was made to choose between her faith and her gender identity.“My story really starts when I was very young, being part of a family system that was very much dominated and controlled within a religious ideology,” she told SBS News. The problem doesn’t exist in every religious community but Roe says her story is similar to that of others in the trans community who were raised in very religious families. “Very controlling, very much ‘this is the way you must live, this is the way you must be’.” Roe said she struggled from the age of three until her mid-teens, before choosing to “play the game”, to essentially repress who she was and “pretend to be what they wanted me to be”. “You had to go and talk to a minister, go and talk to the youth pastor or whoever it was, some supposedly caring person that told you, ‘no, that’s not ok, you can’t be like that’,” she said.

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