Canada this week banned conversion therapy, an outrageous treatment designed to change sexual orientation or gender identity.
It became a law making it illegal to legally subject Canadians of any age to denigrating practices on Wednesday after Canada’s parliament passed the measure this month.
Canadian President Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter: “It’s official: Our government’s legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has had Royal Assent – which means it’s now law. LGBTQ2 Canadians, we will always stand up for you and your rights.” .
The Canadian law is the latest example of a growing global effort to eradicate conversion therapy, a practice that ranges from religious counseling to electroconvulsive therapy and is linked to “severe psychological distress.”
The Canadian ban followed bans in Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. Some countries, such as Germany, have issued an exclusive ban on minors, while others, such as Malta, have issued a ban on all citizens.
In the United States, 20 states and the District of Columbia impose restrictions on minors, according to the Advanced Movement Project, a nonprofit think tank. Three states—Florida, Alabama, and Georgia—are under federal jurisdiction with an injunction prohibiting conversion therapy.
In addition to Canada, the French Senate this week voted in favor of legislation that would also criminalize the practice, with prison terms of two to three years and fines of up to $50,000.
In 2019, the American Medical Association expressed support for state and federal efforts to ban conversion therapy, saying that it is “unfounded in terms of scientifically valid medical care and does not have reliable evidence to support its efficacy or safety.”
Last year, the United Nations called for the practice to be banned internationally and released a report detailing the practice’s global implications.
The report states that “attempts to distort and erase individuals’ identities, deny their existence as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transgender individuals, and incite self-hatred, have severe consequences for their physical and psychological integrity and safety.”
Gay rights advocates welcomed the adoption of Canadian law.
“To the survivors who fought for years for a safer and more equal future: Thank you and congratulations. This is your moment,” No Conversion Canada, a Canadian nonprofit coalition to end conversion therapy, wrote on twitter this week.
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