While LGBTQ advocates in the U.S. have fought for years for a nationwide ban on conversion therapy — the controversial idea that medical treatments such as electric shock, starvation and hypnosis can “turn” a gay person straight — our neighbors to the North have beat us to it, approving legislation that would officially ban that hate and bias-based abuse across their country.
Brooke Migdon of The Hill reported that “a bill outlawing conversion therapy on Wednesday [Dec. 8] formally received ‘royal assent,’ or a ceremonial signature by the Governor-General of Canada or a deputy after being unanimously approved in both the House of Commons and the Senate.”
According to Migdon, “the ban will go into effect in 30 days, and the nation’s criminal code will be amended to make conversion therapy practices illegal in Canada for both adults and children.”
The new Canadian law goes so far as to criminalize anyone who is promoting or profiting off any version of conversion therapy aimed at members of the LGBTQ community.
In a tweet, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrated the news, saying, “It’s official: Our government’s legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has received Royal Assent — meaning it is now law. LGBTQ2 Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights.”
Canada’s anti-conversion therapy bill was initially proposed in March 2020 and went through several versions before officially being passed by legislators.
“The unanimous support it received from every official in Parliament sends a clear message to LGBTQ2 Canadians: you are valid and deserving of a life free from harm,” said Nicholas Schiavo, founder of grassroots coalition No Conversion Canada. “Today, as we celebrate this historic moment, we must thank survivors and their tireless advocacy to reach this moment where conversion ‘therapy’ is finally outlawed in our country.”
Only a handful of nations across the globe, including Brazil, Ecuador, and Germany, have completely banned conversion therapy in all forms. The U.K. has pledged a ban but has, so far, been unable to bring it to fruition.
“In the U.S., 20 states have laws in place banning conversion therapy for minors, and five states have partial bans,” Ring reported. “Three states (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) are located in a federal judicial circuit with an injunction that prevents the enforcement of conversion therapy bans.”