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Canada revives bill to outlaw gay ‘conversion therapy’

A participant dances at the 2017 Pride parade in Montreal - Peter Mccabe / ©AFP


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government on Thursday revived a proposal to ban so-called gay “conversion therapy”, a practice widely regarded as a human rights violation. 

Canada had introduced a similar bill in March, and despite the support of most lawmakers, it failed to pass before parliament was suspended for a summer break as the new coronavirus pandemic hijacked the legislative agenda.

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“Conversion therapy is a cruel practice that can lead to life-long trauma, particularly for young people,” Justice Minister David Lametti said.

“Our government remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the dignity and equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians, by criminalizing a practice that discriminates against and harms them.”

The new bill, which still needs to be voted on, would prohibit subjecting a minor to the practice, either in Canada or abroad.

An adult would also not be able to undergo conversion therapy against his or her will, and no one would be allowed to profit from or advertise it.

Around the world, these said conversions have been attempted through beatings, rape, electrocution, forced medication, confinement, forced nudity, verbal humiliation and other acts of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, according to an independent expert report to the UN.

According to a recent official survey, 47,000 Canadian men who identify as part of a minority sexuality group had been subjected to conversion therapy.

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