Officials called the discredited practice “hateful and harmful.”
Three Canadian officials have sent an open letter to Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General calling for gay ‘conversion’ therapy to be banned in the country, and for the practice to be added to Canada’s criminal code.
The so-called therapy, which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association, refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.
In the letter, David Eby, the Attorney General for British Columbia; Adrian Dix, the Health Minister for British Columbia and Spencer Chandra Herbert, an MLA for British Columbia (BC) wrote: “Conversion therapy is nothing more than ignorance and prejudice disguised as medical treatment.
“Attempting to treat or change an individual’s sexual identity is unethical, contrary to human rights and risks exposing those affected to life-long trauma.
“We therefore call on the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to cover the full range of this circumstances that this practice occurs. Conversion therapy is hateful and harmful and therefore should be a crime in Canada. People across British Columbia have been clear that they will not stand for this dangerous practice taking place in our province.”
The letter finished with the officials writing: “As communities across BC celebrate Pride, we are committed to ensuring that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live without fear or discrimination. If you are gay, you do not need to be fixed. If you are trans, you are accepted here in BC. No matter who you are, you are beautiful, and we see you.”
Some areas in Canada, like Vancouver and Ontario already have some form of ban in place, but these bans do not apply nationwide.
Last year, two separate petitions were launched in the country to try and ban the practice. One amassed 18,000 signatures before being closed, while a change.org petition so far has over 71,000 signatures.