Around 60,000 people have signed separate petitions calling for an end to the discredited practice.
Thousands of people are backing two separate petitions calling on the Canadian government to ban the harmful practice of ‘conversion therapy’. The discredited practice operates under the belief that it is possible to change someone’s sexual orientation, and some methods that have been reported to have been used to achieve this in the past are vile.
One petition, that can be signed here, started on the Canadian government’s website, has so far amassed 7,268 signatures, mostly from the Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia regions.
The petition is sponsored by Sheri Benson, the New Democratic Party MP for Saskatoon West, and closes on January 1, 2019. The petition acknowledges the fact that the “Government of Canada is strongly committed to supporting the equality and human rights of the LGBTQ2+ community and all residents” and it calls on them to do three things.
These three things are: “enact legislation banning conversion therapy to minors in Canada; enact legislation prohibiting transporting minors outside of the country for such purposes; and have conversion therapy included in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, to protect children from abuse.”
Another petition on change.org, that can be signed here, has amassed 53,632 signatures. This petition was started by It Gets Better Canada, and is addressed to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos.
The petition starts off the with the story of Matt, a 17-year-old living in Alberta who was sent to a ‘conversion therapy’ camp by his parents who thought that his sexuality was “shameful and abnormal.” It then laments the fact that Matt’s story is not “unique.”
“Right now in Canada, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and two-spirit youth are being coerced and forced to take part in conversion therapy and other unscientific treatments,” the petition states.
“Rather than helping kids, these “cures” heighten a child’s sense of isolation and rejection, fueling their depression and anger. Police reports across North America have identified conversion therapy as a contributing factor in numerous LGBTQ2 teen suicides.
“The Canadian Psychiatric Society opposes the use of these treatment programs and Canada’s psychiatrists are united: being gay or bisexual or transgendered or asexual – whatever your sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression – is not a mental health issue.
“The Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization explain that such practices ‘lack medical justification and are ethically unacceptable’ and ‘represent a severe threat to the health and human rights’ of their subjects.”
The petition adds: “Canada’s LGBTQ2 kids don’t need bogus therapies: they need love, support and acceptance, just like everyone else.”
The petition also called on Jean-Yves Duclos to make a statement on how the Canadian government is opposed to ‘conversion therapy’ and to develop policies to stop organisation or individuals from attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation.
So far, only the states of Ontario and Manitoba in Canada have banned it. Vancouver is also the only Canadian city to have banned the practice. Elsewhere, the Australian state of Victoria and Switzerland have banned it.
And 14 U.S. states have passed legislation banning the practice. The states where it’s currently illegal are New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware and Maryland.
New Hampshire has voted to ban the practice, but their ban won’t be in place until January 1, 2019.