In a recent letter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for the ban of conversion therapy.
Through a letter to Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti, Trudeau asked to amend the criminal code.
He said he seeks to “ban the practice of conversion therapy and take other steps required with the provinces and territories to end conversion therapy in Canada.”
What Is Conversion Therapy?
Conversion therapy attempts to convert LGBTQ+ people into being heterosexual and/or cisgender.
It uses talk therapy, medication, and aversion therapy to try and condition a person’s behaviour. So, whenever they react to certain stimuli, patients are punished through things like electric shock.
And while this may seem barbaric and like a practice long out of use, conversion therapies still happen today, primarily as an underground resource in some faith-based communities.
Cracking Down on Harmful “Therapy”
Vancouver was the first city to ban any business from practicing conversion therapy, in 2018. And then St. Albert, Alberta followed suit afterward.
The new mandate will ensure the crack-down is country-wide.
And for writer Peter Gajdics, among many others, the news comes as a milestone.
“I’m thrilled, I think it will be a journey to actually have it passed,” he said to CBC.
Author of the book The Inheritance of Shame, Gajdics underwent six years of conversion therapy in Victoria, B.C.
“I just felt completely distorted and cut up inside by the drugs, by the primal scream, by the shame, by this effort to change myself into something that I wasn’t,” he said. “At one point the medications were at a fatal level, and I overdosed, and by all accounts I should have died.”
Gajdics was prescribed antidepressants and sedatives during therapy, in hopes of somehow turning him straight.
He said he’ll keep a close eye on the government’s new mandate, and hopes there will be no room for loopholes.
“Delineating exactly what conversion therapy is or maybe isn’t in the Criminal Code will be vital,” he said to CBC. “Practitioners, organizations, sidestep the issue. Immediately they say we don’t practise that.”
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