LGBT YouthLine celebrates the passing of Bill C-4 (An Act to Amend the Criminal Code – Conversion Therapy) by the Canadian government to ban conversion “therapy” practices that harm 2SLGBTQ+ people in Canada. We commend the work done by various organizations and individuals in achieving this milestone, particularly that of No Conversion Canada.
According to No Conversion Canada, “conversion “therapy” is a false belief that diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expressions are wrong, invalid, abnormal, undesirable or simply illnesses that can be cured. These harmful practices are abusive [and] prey on the LGBTQ2+ community – in particular LGBTQ2+ children and youth.”
Conversion therapy doesn’t always look like conversion camps – it can include “individual talk therapy, behavioural or aversion therapy, group therapy treatments, medical or drug-induced treatments, which attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” Any space that tells youth that their identities are wrong, bad, or not real are harmful, as they have devastating impacts on youth mental health including increasing suicidality. Simply put, conversion therapy is abuse.
On our HelpLine, we talk to young 2SLGBTQ+ people who are being coerced into believing harmful things about themselves. Homophobic and transphobic messaging that youth receive early on in our lives tells us that we are less than, compared to our cisgender and straight counterparts. This is far from the truth and results in trauma that 2SLGBTQ+ people spend decades undoing later on in our lives. That’s why it’s so important for youth of all genders and sexual identities to be celebrated, affirmed, and supported – and that’s why we’re here.
We know that this bill won’t undo the harm immediately, and we’re excited to see the advocacy that will continue in the coming weeks, months, and years.
We are here for any youth in Ontario who may be subjected to efforts that seek to deny, repress, discourage, or change their sexualities or gender identities. Youth can reach our lines for non-judgmental, anonymous peer support. We’re open Sunday-Friday: