Conversion therapy is now illegal in Canada – it is a crime to engage in efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression – marking a major milestone in 2SLGBTQAI+ rights in this country.
On January 7, the Criminal Code sanction came into force, after parliamentarians came together to unanimously pass legislation to eradicate the harmful practice in late 2021.
The BC Federation of Students stands in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQAI+ community and is in support of this ban; conversion "therapy", as it has been called, seeks to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender. It can include seeking to repress someone's non-heterosexual attraction, or repressing a person's gender expression or non-cisnormative identity.
These practises violate human dignity and cause profound harm to individuals and communities, and have no place in any society. They have been opposed by numerous health and human rights groups for many years and there continue to be calls for further mental health and educational supports for those who are survivors of conversion therapy.
We all have the right to live in a province, country and world where our sexual orientation and gender identity is protected and we feel safe to express ourselves daily without consequences. Canada is now one of only a few countries that have criminalized conversion therapy. This is a great step.
But there is still much to be done to ensure our campuses and communities are safe spaces for members of the Queer community. We must continue to work together to unlearn hurtful behaviours and fight against stereotypes and our own biases that cause harm to marginalized communities.
SOME WAYS TO FIND MORE RESOURCES
Check out our Unlearn campaign to learn more about the importance of equity work on campuses, and to access resources.
Visit QMUNITY’s website to find supports available within the community. QMUNITY is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, BC that works to improve queer, trans, and Two-Spirit lives and provide a safer space for 2SLGBTQAI+ people and their allies.
Reach out to your students’ union to find out what resources, support and groups are accessible on your campus.
And as always, reach out to organisers and activists in your local communities to see how you can support them.
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