Canadian children can now not be subjected to conversion remedy
In a landmark vote, the ineffective practice, which is abusive for 2SLGBTQ + children, has been declared illegal across the country.
The end of Pride month brought some great news for Canadian children: On June 22nd, the House of Commons passed a law criminalizing the use of conversion therapy for minors.
Simply put, conversion therapy is a practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is based on an anti-2SLGBTQ + premise. This practice not only implies that 2SLGBTQ + can be changed, but that these lives are less valuable than those of heterosexual or cisgender people.
Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual & Gender Minority Youth and Professor at MacEwen University in Edmonton, says that conversion therapy is not just one practice, it is several different practices. In the past, these included electroshock therapy, chemical castration, and lobodomy. Today, practices include aversion therapy, gender coaching, regressive gender role play, talk therapy, isolation, and even exorcisms. “There are a number of different practices that vary in duration and intensity, but all of them are equally traumatic and devastating,” says Wells, who is also the associate editor of the Journal of LGBT Youth.
The argument against conversion therapy
These therapies are archaic and dehumanizing and have proven ineffective. “There is no legitimate scientific or medical evidence to support conversion therapy anywhere in the world,” says Wells. Conversion therapy also increases the likelihood of long-term psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and suicide attempts. “This is all completely avoidable,” says Wells. “We have to stop trying to tell young people that something is wrong with them. You don’t have to change– it is the society around them that has to change in order to accept and support who they are much more, not what others tell them they should be. “
Bill C-6 is designed to protect children as it is illegal to force minors to undergo conversion therapy in Canada or to be sent abroad for treatment. “Frankly,” Wells says, “conversion therapy is a form of child abuse and should be recognized as domestic violence.”
Is there really still conversion therapy for children in Canada?
It’s hard to believe that in a country as progressive as Canada, children are still exposed to abusive, ineffective, and outdated practices like conversion therapy, but they are. According to a recent study, roughly 10 percent of gay, bisexual, trans, and queer men, as well as two-spirit and non-binary people, say they’ve experienced the practice – and 72 percent of this group say they get therapy before age 20 . Year of life has started. “CTP [conversion therapy practices] is still widespread in Canada and is most common in younger cohorts, ”says the study authors.
The next steps in conversion therapy in Canada
While the passage of Bill C-6 is an important step forward, there is still more to be done. “The bill does a good job of protecting minors and is very comprehensive,” says Wells, “but when it comes to young adults“We still have some concerns about the scope of federal legislation and how it could be stronger.”
Wells adds that Canada has yet to provide trauma resources for conversion therapy survivors, and educational programs for families and parents to unlearn homophobia and behaviors instead Love and acceptance for their children. The final piece of the puzzle, Wells says, is that Canadians “need to thank and acknowledge the voices of the brave survivors who came forward and really helped us understand this problem and how it is still occurring in Canada.”
The ban on conversion therapy was promised by the Liberal Party in the 2019 election campaign, but has only just been put to the vote. Bill C-6 finally passed the house this week in a split of 263 to 63, with only Conservative MPs voting against it. It now has to pass the Senate before it gets royal approval and becomes law.