Stratford-Perth Pride has joined 105 other Canadian LGBTQ2S+ organizations in signing No Conversion Canada’s Community Call to Action to legislate conversion therapy practices in Canada. The following is taken from No Conversion Canada’s letter that will be sent to all federal MPs and media outlets. Download the PDF Version.
We, the undersigned, call on all Parliamentarians to affirm the inherent dignity and human rights of all Canadians, including those from the 2SLGBTQI+community, to live free from discrimination, prejudice, and harm.
We call on the 44th session of the Canadian Parliament to take immediate action to prohibit all forms of conversion “therapy” practices and sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression change efforts (collectively“conversion practices”).
- Prohibit all forms of conversion practices,
- Develop accompanying policies and funding to support survivor healing,and,
- Create public education and awareness programs to prevent futureconversion practices.
Conversion practices are not based in scientific evidence, are widely discredited by major medical and health associations, and are known to cause serious harm such as depression, anxiety, internalized shame and stigma, and suicide ideation and have been described as a form of torture by theUnited NationsIndependent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
We call on all Parliamentarians to listen to and uplift the voices of survivors and2SLGBTQI+ Canadians in developing comprehensive federal legislation to:
- Legislation that broadly defines and addresses all forms of “conversion practices”, rather than “conversion therapy”, that are used to change,suppress, or discourage a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity orgender expression.
Legislation must clearly define conversion practices toensure it does not interfere with Canadians’ access to gender-affirminghealthcare and inclusive counselling supports. The term “conversion practices” is becoming the global standard of reference for these knownharms and abuses, and avoids the implication that these unscientificpractices are therapeutic in any way. Conversion practices go by many different names such as “conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,”“reorientation therapy,” “sexual orientation and gender identity andexpression change efforts,” and other descriptors including discouragingsame-sex attractions, repressing gender identity, and performing exorcisms.
- Federal legislation must prohibit all forms of conversion practicesregardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression orsexual characteristics. These practices are no less harmful to adults, trans,nonbinary and intersex Canadians. Legislation must apply to all ages andthere can be no exemptions based on religious, or other grounds. All formsof conversion practices are based within anti-2SLGBTQI+ ideology and areinherently fraudulent, dangerous, and harmful.
- Legislation must clearly state that so-called “consent to conversionpractices” is not a valid legal defence. Building on well-establishedprecedents throughout the Criminal Code, any proposed legislation must include a no-consent provision to ensure Canadians are protected from allforms of conversion practices. It is impossible to provide consent to aninherently fraudulent and harmful set of practices that weaponize systemichomophobia, biphobia, and transphobia and operate under a false premiseagainst members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities.
- Legislation should restrict the advertising of, profit from, and financing ofconversion practices, whether in person or by electronic means. Frequently, conversion practices are offered remotely via the Internet in an attempt toevade jurisdictional prohibitions. Increasingly, third parties are financiallysupporting conversion practices.
- Legislation should make it a criminal offence to remove any person fromCanada to undergo conversion practices.
Unfortunately, conversionpractices are still legal and widely available in many countries around theworld.
- Legislation should specifically empower the Canada Revenue Agency torevoke charitable or corporate status, through a provisional processseparate from any criminal proceedings, for entities shown to bepracticing, advertising, selling or financing conversion practices, orotherwise violating Canada’s conversion practices prohibition legislation.
Legislation must also be accompanied by government funding to supportgrassroots efforts to foster survivor healing, education, and awarenessacross Canada within the proposed national
LGBTQ2+ Action Plan.
- Legislation should be paired with ‘upstream’ efforts to ensure that all Canadian youth have access to 2SLGBTQI+ affirming messages throughschools and extracurricular settings and thereby reduce demand forconversion practices. These efforts may include expanded funding forcommunity action initiatives (e.g., LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund,funded through Women and Gender Equality Canada) and nationalguidelines (e.g., the Canadian Guidelines on Sexual Health Education,funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada ). The provision ofadequate resources for survivors’ mental health recovery is also essential.When developing supporting measures, every opportunity should be takento consult with survivors and the wider 2SLGBTQI+ community to havethe greatest possible impact.
- The federal government should continue to consult with all provinces,territories, and municipalities to ensure optimal protection from conversionpractices is achieved in Canada so that each government enactscomplimenting legislation at their respective levels. Every level ofgovernment has different powers and a responsibility to protect Canadiansby prohibiting all forms of conversion practices.