For immediate release
October 28, 2021
VICTORIA, B.C. –. Today the B.C. Greens will table legislation to ban conversion practices in British Columbia. The proposed legislation would restrict all attempts to change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.
“Everyone should be allowed to be exactly who they are,” said Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “Diverse sexualities, gender orientations, and gender expressions should be welcomed by all British Columbians.
Conversion practices deny, devalue, and demoralize anyone who is not heterosexual, and they are not effective. Unfortunately, many conversion practices are targeted to young people and have devastating and lasting effects on their mental wellbeing. This bill would protect the LGBTQIA2S+ community from the harms of these false treatments, and would penalize any person who might try to administer them.”
Nick Schiavo, Founder of No Conversion Canada:
“We are delighted to see this historic legislation introduced in British Columbia to ban conversion practices and keep our communities safe. Across the country, provinces and territories have stepped up to fight this abuse, and now it’s time for BC to do the same. We know this bill will go a long way in making LGBTQIA2S+ British Columbians safer and freer, which is why we are calling on every MLA to stand with survivors and support this life-saving legislation."
The first iteration of the proposed private member’s bill was introduced by the B.C. Green Caucus in 2019, but was not brought forward for 2nd reading by the B.C. NDP. This new version has updated language by request of the community to better capture conversion practices and the harm they cause, and has expanded the definition to include both minors and adults.
Conversion practices still occur in Canada. A study published in June 2021 found that as many as one in ten (10%) gay, bi, trans, and queer men and Two-Spirit and non-binary people have been subjected to conversion practices in Canada.
The Federal Bill C-6 proposed to ban conversion practices across Canada, but has not passed. The bill proposed by the B.C. Greens today would provide protection for British Columbians regardless of the outcome of the federal bill, and align with other jurisdictions across Canada.
Conversion practices have been banned in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI), the Yukon, and Quebec.
Sources: Community-Based Research Centre
B.C. Green Caucus
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