Kelowna advocacy group applauds introduction of new bill to outlaw conversion therapy

Therapy ban bill cheered

A Kelowna-based group advocating for positive change on important issues concerning the LGBTQ community has applauded first reading of Bill C-4 which would ban conversion therapy across Canada.

Several previous attempts to amend the Criminal Code and outlaw the practice were unsuccessful, the latest earlier this year was scuttled when Trudeau called a snap election.

Advocacy Canada founder Wilbur Turner says the new bill, tabled by Justice Minister David Lametti is the most comprehensive version of the bill, with improvements to protect more Canadians from these harmful practices.

“It is important to ensure that all Canadians are protected from these practices that have proven to have no benefits, and have been shown to cause lasting harm to individuals who have become victims of them. This should not be a partisan issue, therefore we call upon all members of parliament to expediently approve this important piece of legislation,” says Turner.

“We expect nothing less than full co-operation from our elected representatives in the Okanagan, and we hope they understand the seriousness of this issue.”

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray came under fire from the local LGBTQ community when she voted against the previous bill in June.

Gray stated at the time she supports a ban but believed wording of the bill needed improvement.

Turner says sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts are "deeply harmful, scientifically discredited practices that target vulnerable LGBTQ2S Canadians."

He says all levels of government should work to undermine the practice while supporting development of positive, affirming programs and services.

Turner says as many as one-in-five sexual minority men report having experienced sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression change efforts, and of them, nearly 40 percent have experienced conversion therapy according to a 2021 report.

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