Canada’s federal government has this week proposed new legislation which aims to institute a nationwide ban on LGBTQI conversion therapy.
Canada’s Justice Minister, David Lametti, and Diversity and Youth Minister, Bardish Chagger introduced the ‘Bill C-8’ into parliament on Monday, which proposes five legislative amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code that relate to conversion therapy.
The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would make it illegal to have a minor undergo conversion therapy or have someone undergo conversion therapy against their will.
The bill will also make it illegal to advertise and profit from the practice and will allow Canadian courts to order the disposing or deleting of advertisements for conversion therapy.
Gay conversion therapy is defined in the legislation as an attempt to change someone’s sexuality or chosen gender-identity or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attractions.
The Minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, David Lametti, iterated that conversion therapy was completely disproven as effective, and is “premised on a lie”.
“[It says] being homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or trans is wrong and needs fixing,” he said.
“Not only is that false, but it also sends a demeaning and a degrading message that undermines the dignity of individuals.
“Conversion therapy has been discredited and denounced by professionals and health associations in Canada, the United States and around the world. It has no basis on science or facts.”
Usually carried about by religious groups or in some cases, individuals, these ‘therapies’ vary and include counseling, prayer, hydro-therapy, meditation, electro-shock treatment, and even exorcisms.
The newly proposed ‘Bill C-8’ will still allow adults questioning their sexual orientation or gender-identity to willingly seek ‘reparation therapy’ if they want to. Though, even these options have been limited.
LGBTIQ advocacy group, just.equal, has also welcomed Canada’s move toward criminalising LGBTIQ conversion practices.
just.equal Spokesperson, Brian Greig, today welcomed Canada’s move against conversion therapy and emphasised the importance of affirming LGBTQI people that they do not need to be ‘fixed’.
“We welcome Canada’s move to criminalise conversion practices and hope it encourages Australian legislators to do the same,” they said.
“Conversion practices are so cruel and destructive that a simple ban is inadequate and a criminal penalty must apply.
“We hope the ideology behind conversion practices – that LGBTIQ people are broken and need to be fixed – will also be dealt with in the Canadian proposal.”