Photo by Paula Kirman (Flickr)

In early March, Canada made the decision to make conversion therapy illegal. This newly proposed federal legislation bans forcing someone to change their gender identity or sexual orientation through psychological means, notably therapy and medication.

Conversion therapy is an extremely harmful and ineffective practice present in many countries around the world. Studies indicate such a practice, especially among youth, increases suicide rates by 800 percent and clinical depression by 600 percent. In addition, rejecting a youth’s gender identity or sexual orientation is linked to further psychological trauma in the future.

In a recent tweet by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he states “Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading and has no place in Canada.”

This legislation proposes five amendments to the federal criminal code in relation to conversion therapy. This legislation makes the following illegal:

  • Causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy
  • Removing a minor from Canada to undergo the practice
  • Causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will
  • Profiting from providing conversion therapy
  • Advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy

“The legislation would also authorize courts to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the Internet,” notes a recent press release by the Canadian government. 

This ban takes action against discrimination of members of the LGBTQ+ community and it is one step closer to ensuring the rights and freedoms of all individuals in society. Furthermore, this ban seeks to eliminate future oppression and stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ Canadians.

Although this legislation should have come into effect much sooner, it is nonetheless a historic moment for Canada.