Congress of Canada bans “conversion therapies” in the first instance | International

Flags of trans and LGTBI pride in front of the Parliament of Ottawa (Canada), in 2017.
Flags of trans and LGTBI pride in front of the Parliament of Ottawa (Canada), in 2017.CHRIS WATTIE / Reuters

Canada’s lower house passed the bill to ban so-called “conversion therapies” that promise to impose heterosexuality on LGBTI people. Initiative C-6 – presented in October 2020 by David Lametti, Minister of Justice, and Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion – was one of the most talked about electoral promises of Justin Trudeau in the 2019 elections. it got the go-ahead, on third reading, in a vote with a result of 263-63. All the votes against came from the conservative seats; Erin O’Toole, leader of the opposition force, spoke in favor of the liberal initiative, backed by the New Democratic Party, the Quebecois Bloc and the Green Party.

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“Conversion therapies have no place in Canada,” Prime Minister Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “And despite the fact that more than half of the conservatives voted against our bill that seeks to criminalize this harmful and degrading practice, the House adopted it. We will always defend the rights of LGBTIQ + Canadians ”. The text, which has passed to the Senate, penalizes the act of subjecting a minor to “conversion therapy” or sending him abroad for this purpose, carrying it out on an adult against his will, receiving money in exchange for these services or advertise them. The maximum penalty can be up to five years in prison.

Initiative C-6 defines these therapies as “a practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation to make them heterosexual, suppress or reduce non-heterosexual sexual attraction or behavior, or modify an individual’s gender identity to match with their sex assigned at birth ”. According to a study by Community Research Center (based in Vancouver) and published earlier this month in the journal PLOS One, 21% of respondents belonging to a sexual minority said they had undergone efforts to change their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. 10% indicated that they had experienced these therapies.

The authors estimate that more than 50,000 Canadians have been subjected to these practices. Travis Salway, professor at Simon Fraser University and lead author of the text, argued that the so-called “conversion therapies” are associated “with significant psychological harm” and, therefore, “have been discredited by multiple medical and psychological bodies.” .

The Canadian Senate will conclude its work on Friday night. Senators are likely to give the green light to the C-6 initiative so that it will later receive the royal sanction. Otherwise, this legislative body will reopen its doors on September 20 and could reopen it. However, the project runs the risk of perishing if there is a call to the polls before the arrival of autumn, a possibility that sounds increasingly louder in the country.

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