March 11, 2020 at 10:58 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Canada moves to ban conversion therapy
health disparities, gay news, Washington Blade
Canadian lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy nationwide. (Photo public domain)

Lawmakers in Canada on Monday introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Attorney General David Lametti and Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger introduced the measure that would amend Canada’s Criminal Code. The proposed amendments would punish those who cause “a minor to undergo conversion therapy,” remove “a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad,” cause “a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will,” profit “from providing conversion therapy” and advertise “an offer to provide conversion therapy.”

“The legislation would also authorize courts to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the Internet,” notes a Canadian government press release that announced the bill’s introduction.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last December publically called for a conversion therapy ban in Canada. Trudeau on Tuesday applauded Lametti and Bardish for introducing the measure.

“Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading and has no place in Canada,” tweeted Trudeau.

Canada would join Brazil, Ecuador, Malta and Taiwan in banning the widely discredited practice if MPs support the measure.

Maryland and D.C. are among the U.S. jurisdictions that ban conversion therapy for minors. A new law that prohibits the practice in Virginia takes effect on July 1.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ efforts hinge on the belief that cisgender heterosexuality is the norm, and transgender identities and/or same-sex attraction not only fall outside the norm, but have to be changed, if need be by brutal, inhuman force,” said Outright Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern in a press release. “By introducing a bill which foresees a nation-wide ban, the government of Canada has sent a powerful message — that LGBTIQ people are not in need of change or cure.”

Troy Stevenson of the Trevor Project echoed Stern.

“We’re proud to support Canada’s move to end the discredited practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ minors,” said Stevenson in a statement.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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