Vancouver becomes the first Canadian city to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy

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The places where it is legal to carry out the discredited practice continues to fall.

Vancouver has become the first Canadian city to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy, after unanimous support from the city’s councillors. Although Vancouver is the first city to ban the practice, the states of Ontario and Manitoba have also banned it, and the Public Health Agency of Canada has disavowed the harmful practice.

The motion read: “The Council of the City of Vancouver is strongly committed to supporting the equality and human rights of the LGBTQ2+ community and all city residents.

“Sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are prohibited grounds of discrimination in the British Columbia Human Rights Code.

“The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ or ‘reparative therapy’, pseudo-scientific techniques that attempt to persuade persons to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, is seriously harmful to persons and is opposed by the Canadian Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and others.

“The Council of the City of Vancouver is authorized to prohibit businesses, with a unanimous vote of Council… the Vancouver Charter and has prohibited a variety of businesses.

“Therefore be it resolved that Council supports… amending the Business Prohibition [laws] to prohibit the business of providing conversion therapy to minors.”

Related: Gay ‘conversion therapy’ survivor opens up about horrific experience

Speaking to the Vancouver Star, Peter Gajdics, a campaigner against and survivor of gay ‘cure’ therapy, said: “I feel victorious. I actually didn’t think it was going to happen; I kept thinking something was going to get in the way.

“This is huge for Vancouver to take this position.”

The bill was initially just for minors, but following an amendment from Councillor George Affleck, the bill now applies to all citizens. Commenting on this, Gajdics said: “I was overwhelmed and thrilled that they changed it from minors to adults. I had wanted it to be adults cause I was an adult when it happened to me.

“I think they will not only have set a precedent, they will really draw the attention of jurisdictions for this reason.”

Vancouver joins a growing list of places that have banned the discredited practice. 13 separate U.S. states have bans in place or pending, as do Malta, and the Australian state of Victoria.

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