Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti introduced a bill to the Canadian House of Commons on Monday to criminalize sexual orientation conversion therapy programs.
The bill would amend the Criminal Code to criminalize conversion therapy for all minors, including removing a child from Canada with the intention of subjecting the child to conversion therapy elsewhere. The bill would also criminalize conversion therapy advertisements, which would allow courts to seize computer systems for advertising conversion therapy programs.
Conversion therapy opponents argue that the practice stigmatizes the LGBTQ+ community by attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual through different methods, such as counseling and behavior modification. “It reflects myths and stereotypes … in particular that sexual orientations other than heterosexual … can and should be changed,” Canada’s Justice Department reported.
To promote its bill, the Justice Department released the interim results of the 2019-2020 Community-Based Research Centre Sex Now Survey, which found as many as one in five LGBTQ+ men have experienced some form of gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation change efforts. Nearly 40 percent experienced some form of conversion therapy.
“There is no right or wrong when it comes to who you are or who you love,” Lametti wrote on Twitter Monday. “I am proud of this important step taken by our government to protect the LGBTQ2 community, especially the youth.”