Will there soon be a National Conversion Therapy Day?



June 24, 2024
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Conversations about conversion therapy are back on Parliament Hill. And, no, they’re not talking about repealing or amending Canada’s deeply flawed conversion therapy ban. Instead, they’re doubling down.

On January 7, 2022, Parliament passed Bill C-4. This bill expanded the “hate propaganda” section of Canada’s Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy. As we discussed many times in connection with Bill C-4, the definition of conversion therapy was left wildly broad, banning any practice, treatment, or service designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change an individual’s gender identity to cisgender, or to change an individual’s gender expression so that it corresponds to the sex assigned to them at birth.

In one fell swoop, this legislation forbade the Christian perspective on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression from being applied in medicine or psychiatry. Counselling to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction? Banned. Addressing gender dysphoria by suggesting that a person embrace the body they have? Illegal. Retreats for transgender youth about biblical masculinity and femininity? Forbidden.

André Schutten, ARPA’s Director of Law & Policy at that time, pointed out that this law actually discriminates against “LGBTQ+ Canadians as well as those questioning their gender identity…It [denies] them the broad range of choices for counselling and spiritual support that are freely available to all other Canadians.”

But the advocates of the LGBTQ+ cause haven’t stopped. On June 13, 2024, MP Mark Gerretsen introduced Bill C-404, An Act to establish National Conversion Therapy Awareness Day, so that the anniversary of the passage of the conversion therapy law – January 7 – would be dedicated to reminiscing about “the harms caused by conversion therapy.” Bill C-404 is a private member’s bill and such PMBs don’t usually become law.  But given the inordinate amount of attention given by the Liberal and NDP parties to LGBTQ+ issues (and the fact that the conversion therapy ban passed unanimously two and a half years ago), this bill might very well make it all the way through. So reach out to your MP and let them know that you oppose efforts to create a National Conversion Therapy Awareness Day and encourage them to vote against C-404.

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