General News

Update: Canada advances ban on conversion therapy

Rachel Badham November 1, 2020

An overwhelming majority in the Canadian House of Commons has voted to give approval in principle to a bill outlawing LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in the nation. According to CTV News, Canadian politicians voted 308-7 in support of the bill, which was reintroduced at the start of October after an unsuccessful attempt to ban conversion therapy earlier this year. The bill would seek to cut off funding to those subjecting people to the practice, and those found doing so could face up to five years in prison.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has condemned conversion therapy

The bill argues: “it is important to discourage and denounce the provision of conversion therapy in order to protect the human dignity and equality of all Canadians,” and says conversion therapy is founded on the “myth that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity can and ought to be changed.” Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau added: “Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada … I hope that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill.”

LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD defines conversion therapy as “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression”. The organisation found nearly 700,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the US alone had been subjected to the practice, leaving them six times more likely to experience depression. Studies by the Canadian government also discovered 20% of gay, bisexual, trans and gender non-conforming men in the country had undergone conversion therapy.

Meanwhile, the practice has not yet been outlawed in the UK despite Boris Johnson’s belief it is ‘abhorrent’. He has been urged by many LGBTQ+ activists to follow in the Canadian government’s footsteps and work to outlaw the controversial form of ‘treatment’.