Canada has outlawed the dangerous and debunked practice of gay conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Canadian lawmakers voted on December 8th to join a handful of other countries and 20 U.S. states that have made it a crime to subject another person of any age to so-called “gay conversion therapy.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrated the passage of the bill on Wednesday.
“It’s official: Our government’s legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has received Royal Assent - meaning it is now law. LGBTQ2 Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights,” Trudeau tweeted.
It's official: Our government's legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has received Royal Assent - meaning it is now law. LGBTQ2 Canadians, we'll always stand up for you and your rights.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 8, 2021
Practices that fall under the umbrella term of gay conversion therapy ranges from religious counseling to physical abuse and electric shock therapy, all of which have been associated with “severe psychological distress,” according to NBC.
Canada’s ban comes a year after the United Nations called for a global end to conversion therapy. The U.N.’s special report said the children and young people “are particularly vulnerable to the impact of practices of ‘conversion therapy.’”
“A recent study of transgender adults found that, exposure before 10 years of age ‘was significantly associated with increased odds of severe psychological distress … and lifetime suicide attempts,’” the U.N. said.
The American Medical Association in 2019 said the practice of conversion therapy “has no foundation as scientifically valid medical care and lacks credible evidence to support its efficacy or safety.”
Canada joins five other nations that have outlawed gay conversion therapy; Germany, Malta, Brazil, Ecuador, and Taiwan.