The Canadian government tabled a bill in Parliament that bans gay 'conversion therapy', throughout the country. The bill was defined as the "most progressive and comprehensive in the world", by Justice Minister David Lametti, who tabled the bill in the parliament.
What is LGBT 'conversion therapy'?
The law defines conversion therapy as "any service, practice or treatment designed to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual, gender identity to one that matches the sex assigned at birth, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviours," AFP reported.
The bill states that conversion therapy causes harm to both the victims and society. It helps in spreading myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation and gender identity. It works on the premise that sexual orientation and gender identity can and should be changed. Conversion therapy, although ineffective and often harmful, is carried out in various parts of the world.
What is Canada's conversion therapy bill about?
The bill would introduce five new offences to the federal criminal code. It includes prohibiting subjecting a minor to the practice, either in Canada or abroad. No adult would be made to undergo therapy against his will. And no one would be allowed to profit from or advertise it.
The bill, however, doesn't ban private conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity with teachers, school counsellors, faith leaders and mental health professionals.
Conversion therapy survivors testified before the Parliament
"I'm a survivor of conversion therapy," said Erika. "My body is a prison because of what my conversion therapist did to me, and I live with that every day," she added. According to an official survey, 47,000 Canadian men who identify as part of an LGBTQ group had been subjected to conversion therapy.
Will the bill be passed in Parliament?
Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is the minority, Canada's left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP) has announced its backing of the bill. If passed, Canada will follow Ecuador and Malta, to ban this practice. A draft law was published in Germany in November, that bans conversion therapy involving minors. Also, the practice is banned in 20 US states.