August Week 3: Queensland criminalises gay conversion therapy, increase in aquarium stress relief

Queensland becomes first Australian state to ban gay conversion therapy via news.com.au


Queensland has become the first state in Australia to criminalise gay conversion therapy. State politicians voted to make the practice illegal, saying it is "highly destructive and unethical."


This comes under the Health Legislation Amendment Bill, which states that health professionals who attempt "to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity" could face up to 18 months in prison. A suit of practices including 'conditioning techniques such as aversion therapy, psychoanalysis and hypnotherapy, clinical interventions, including counselling, or group activities that aim to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity' is now illegal in the state.


The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have also committed to banning the harmful practice.


Steven Miles, Queensland's Health Minister said in parliament: "Being LGBTIQ is not an affliction or disease that requires medical treatment. No treatment or practice can change a person's sexual attraction or experience of gender."


Aquariums report wave of webcam visits amid Covid shutdown via the Guardian


Despite Monterey Bay Aquarium in California closing to the public in March, visits to its website have tripled compared to last year. Nearly 80% of the traffic goes to the website's 10 live webcams, featuring sea otters, jellyfish and shark exhibits, which have proved the most popular. Georgia and Baltimore aquariums also reported a spike in their daily website traffic.


Teachers have reported these webcams to be helpful for students' self-care routines and breathing exercises to maximise relaxation. A 2015 study by the National Marine aquarium, the University of Plymouth and the University of Exeter found that viewing aquarium displays led to noticeable reductions in blood pressure and heart rate.


Monterey Bay Aquarium are now producing a series of guided meditations set to soothing footage of jellyfish or breaking waves, while producing their own instrumental music mixes.


Dana Allen-Greil, Monterey Bay Aquarium's director of digital strategy, said: "People watch them [the webcams] religiously. They email us and say 'I eat breakfast every morning with the sea otters' - it becomes part of their daily life."



Former security guard now a medical student at the hospital where he worked via ABC News

Dr Russell Ledet worked security at Baton Rouge General Medical Center for five years, where he would study medicine on note cards and ask doctors if he could shadow them. While many didn't have the time, Dr Patrick Greiffenstein, the chief surgery resident, was willing to take him under his wing.


Ledet, who is a US Navy veteran and has a PhD in molecular oncology from New York University, is currently enrolled in both the MBA program and medical school at Tulane.


An image organised by the 34-year-old went viral, where he and fellow black students from Tulane University's Student National Medical Association, wearing their white coats, stood with their fists up in front of Whitney Plantation, a former slave plantation turned museum.


Since the photo, the company The 15 White Coats was created, which provides opportunities for minority medical students around the world, with the ultimate goal of starting a high school in Louisiana that prepares kids to become doctors.


Ledet told ABC News: “My two little Black girls can turn on the TV, once a week, sometimes once a month, and they see a video of somebody who looks like them being murdered and it’s legal, These kinds of things are happening and no matter how much education I have, society doesn’t see me as a human.


"The idea of the photo was to illustrate our presence essentially, and the history behind where we are today.”


Father-Daughter Duo Opens Library in Chicago with 1,000 Free Books via NBC Chicago

19-year-old Mayana Lifchitz and her father Yosef started their organisation, Books 4 Cause, in 2009 and have since provided hundreds of thousands of books to 110 libraries in Africa. When the pandemic hit, the two knew the need for books would grow there too.


Yosef has since opened a free library in Chicago's Avondale on North Milwaukee Avenue with over 1,000, all of which are completely free. The organisation also helping to fill empty storefronts hit hard by the pandemic.


The two have plans to open other free libraries on the South and West sides of Chicago.


Mayana Lifchitz said: "It might seem really simple, but the escapism it provides is incredible. You can really turn someone's life around just by giving them a book."

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