Is Canada right to pass law banning 'conversion therapy'?
- On January 16, 2022, a Liberty Coalition Canada campaign of more than 4,000 Christian pastors announced their desire to protest against Canada’s conversion therapy ban, bill C-4, that went into effect on January 8, 2022. Pastors “feel they have been stripped of their religious freedoms.”
- On December 8, 2021, Canada passed bill C-4 banning conversion therapy as a “harm to society” because it “propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.” The bill defines “conversion therapy” as any “practice, treatment or service' that might 'change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual; change a person’s gender identity to cisgender; change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth,” and more. The penalty for breaking this law is five years jail time.
- Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s LGBTQ population amounts to one million people as of June 2021, which was 4% of the population aged 15 and up in 2018.
- UCLA School of Law Williams Institute found that around 7% of LGB people in the United States have gone through conversion therapy, 81% from a religious leader, and 31% from a health care provider.
- According to the Movement Advancement Project, 20 US states ban conversion therapy for minors, five states and one territory have partial bans for minors, and 22 states and four territories have no state law regarding the issue.
Canada's C-4 bill banning 'conversion therapy' (CT) not only rejects science and logic but severely limits professional and parental rights, religious liberty, free speech, and truth itself. The law degrades what people have known forever about human sexuality and sexual morality as a 'myth.' C-4 criminalizes anyone—whether parent, pastor, priest, professor, or medical practitioner—who might defy LGBTQ or gender ideology by counseling those struggling with questions of sexuality and identity.
C-4 cuts in only one direction, explicitly forbidding 'repression' of 'non-cisgender' and 'non-heterosexual identities,' but not heterosexual 'repression.' It's expressly not a crime to promote LGBTQ ideas to children. C-4 also doesn't consider 'conversion' to mean undergoing surgeries and medical procedures to appear more like the opposite sex. Yet, anyone who encourages a biological boy or girl to accept their biology or pursue heterosexuality is guilty of 'conversion therapy.' If they refuse to indulge someone's gender delusion or preach biblical sexuality (Genesis 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), they can end up behind bars.
This puts everyone at risk. If parents wish to exercise 'watchful waiting' instead of instant affirmation over their child's burgeoning sexual phase, they could be legally punished. C-4 also defines CT as reducing or repressing non-heterosexual sexual 'behaviour.' Good parents ceaselessly repress and reduce the sexual behavior of their children. They restrict their child's porn access, whom or how they date or sleep with, etc. Under C-4, parental restrictions could be criminalized should the child identify with the LGBTQ community.
There is no telling where C-4 ends and Canadian rights begin. Rights to express dissent, raise children according to certain moral or religious ideals, and more are put at risk, placing extreme power into the hands of a few.
Conversion therapy is dehumanizing in that it is an affront to an individual's innate personality, essentially saying that they were somehow born broken and in need of fixing. It is discriminatory, inhumane, and Canada is right to outlaw it. Past conversion therapies have involved electric shock in conjunction with pornographic images, estrogen treatments, and humiliating psychoanalysis sessions. These are extreme methods well outside of medical norms and have proven ineffective and damaging. Further, there are no guidelines or professional standards for administering this so-called treatment, illustrating just how bogus the practice is.
While this law puts important legal protections in place for the LGBTQ+ community, as Michael Kwag of Toronto's Community-Based Research Center summarized, 'It also sends a strong message to the entire country that any attempt to change, deny or suppress the identity of queer and trans people is wrong.'
Finally, Canada's new law puts the Great White North in good company; not just with other leading nations but with the opinions of experts. Countries throughout the world have placed bans on the now widely discredited practice, including not just the typical socially progressive states such as Norway, Switzerland, and Germany, but others such as Brazil, Argentina, and Taiwan. This diverse group of nations coming to the same conclusion on conversion therapy shows that all around the world, people have come to understand the harm this practice can cause. And multiple international organizations such as the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims have labeled conversion therapy as torture and a dangerous practice. All countries should follow Canada's example.