Canada might be next in line to ban conversion therapy

Justin Trudeau marched with his LGBTI constituents

The Canadian parliament has this week proposed legislation that, if passed, will ban gay conversion therapy in the nation. 

Canada’s Justice Minister, David Lametti and Diversity and Youth Minister, Bardish Chagger introduced the Bill C-8 into parliament on Monday.

The bill proposes five legislative amendments to the Criminal Code related to conversion therapy.

In announcing the bill, Lametti also called the proposed legislation the “most progressive and comprehensive in the world”.

He then spoke about the trauma such practices have on LGBTIQ individuals.

“Conversion therapy is premised on a lie,” Lametti said.

“[It says] being homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or trans is wrong and needs fixing.

“Not only is that false, but it also sends a demeaning and a degrading message that undermines the dignity of individuals,” he said.

Bill C-8

The new legislation proposes five new Criminal Code offences.

But it will allow adults questioning their sexual orientation and identity to willingly seek ‘reparation therapy’ if they want to. But even that will be limited.

As it stands now, however, the new legislation is aiming to make the following crimes:

  • causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy;
  • removing a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad;
  • causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will;
  • profiting from providing conversion therapy; and
  • advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.

Additionally, Bill C-8 will also give courts the power to seize material promoting conversion therapy and order it to be removed from the internet.

“We all have a role to play to make sure [LGBTIQ] persons feel safe and can fully participate in Canadian society,” Chagger said.

“The progressive legislation we proposed…will help ensure that everyone, everywhere in Canada can be who they truly are, and live full, healthy, safe lives.”

Conversion therapy in Queensland

Queensland also has been taking strides to ban these discriminatory and harmful practices.

Back in November, Queensland’s Health Minister Steven Miles announced the state government’s intention to ban gay conversion therapy.

He told parliament the practices are harmful and after meeting with health professionals and survivors, a ban was imperative.

“Practices that try to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity have always been immoral and unethical,” he said.

“Now they will be illegal. Gay conversion therapy is based on the belief that being LGBTIQ is a disorder that requires correction.

“These ideas have long been discredited by the medical community and are not evidence-based.

“There is also overwhelming evidence that gay conversion therapy is harmful and correlates with high rates of suicide and self-harm.”

After the introduction of the bill, however, several religious organisations have clapped back.

Christian Schools Australia say the “unclear” laws may stop them from counselling people on sexuality and gender-based on orthodox Christian teaching.

In addition, they said it “risks…directly impacting Christian schools and their…pastoral care programs”.

But the outcome of the bill lies in wake, as last month a parliamentary committee in Queensland pushed for a reworking of the bill.

Watch this space for updates.

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