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Late last year, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party promised that they will make conversion therapy illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada. Now Justice Minister David Lametti has put forward a bill that would outlaw conversion therapy for minors and make it illegal to profit from the discredited practice. Canada is joining eight other countries in banning conversion therapy; including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Fiji, Samoa and Taiwan.
Conversion therapy aims to change the sexual or gender identity of those who do not identify as heterosexual. The methods vary from talk therapy, electroshocks and even chemical castration. Lametti also describes conversion therapy as immoral:
“Conversion therapy is premised on a lie — that being homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or trans is wrong and in need of fixing. Not only is that false, it sends a demeaning and degrading message that undermines the dignity of individuals and the LGBTQ community as a whole. Contrary to what some might say, there is no right or wrong when it comes to who you are or who you love.”
"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 in science or facts,” David Lametti added.
Even though Canada is a liberal country, a 2019 University of British Columbia study alleged that more than 20,000 LGBTQ Canadians have been subjected to conversion therapy at some point in their lives.
As CBC reports, the bill Lametti introduced proposes five new Criminal Code offences that would make it illegal to:
Cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy;
Take a minor out of Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad;
Force someone to undergo conversion therapy against their will;
Profit from conversion therapy;
Advertise conversion therapy as a service.
Under a minority Liberal government, the bill needs the support of other parties to succeed. Fortunately, members of the NDP, Green, and Bloc Quebecois parties have said they would support the legislation. There is reason to expect the bill to pass through Parliament with ease. Parents are still free to tell their children to stop being gay or get cut out of the will without falling afoul of the proposed law.