Yukon has become the first Canadian territory to ban LGBTQ+ conversion therapy after the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act was unanimously voted in on Monday November 16. CBC News reported the bill will ban the practice of conversion therapy for minors, and prevents substitute decision makers from consenting to it on behalf of an LGBTQ+ person. It also ensures the practice is not covered by health insurance.
Studies by the Canadian government also discovered 20% of gay, bisexual, trans and gender non-conforming men in the country had undergone conversion therapy, and many were left suffering from PTSD and depression as a result. Women’s directorate minister, Jeanie McLean, said she is proud the government is “moving forward to protect the safety of LGBTQ+ Yukoners” adding: “We are allies. We need to be here for them by actively working to end discrimination and any practices that aim to do them harm”.
Joe Wickenhauser, executive director of the Yukon Pride Centre, said: “It is a historic day for the Yukon. It’s a symbol that communicates that the government is serious about passing legislation that protects the community”. He also highlighted that more needs to be done to help those who have been subjected to the practice which is known to cause trauma: “We’re really at sort of a beginning place in terms of how we help people who’ve been through such a challenging and traumatic experience.”
Canada is currently moving towards a nation-wide ban on conversion therapy, with an overwhelming majority in the Canadian House of Commons previously voting to give approval in principle to a bill outlawing LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in the nation. 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.”
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