Thursday, December 1 2022


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The Conservatives led the charge in the Canadian Parliament to vote in favor of ban conversion therapy for minors.

The Senate voted without any objection on the bill proposed by Conservative Senator Leo Housakos and passed all legislative stages on December 7. Previously, the House of Commons voted unanimously to pass the bill introduced by Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who has become a supporter of LGBTQ rights since becoming party leader. O’Toole allowed his party to have a free vote on the issue.

Unusually, the Conservatives voted with their Liberal counterparts.

“The community has been heard,” Housakos told the Senate, the Toronto Star reported.

“This was heard by the House of Commons and we saw the House of Commons do the right thing and pass this bill unanimously and they did it because they thought it was in. the national interest to do so, ”Housakos continued.

Passage of the bill by the Senate requires Royal Assent from the Governor General or his representative for it to become law, the newspaper reported.

Canada could become the sixth country in the world to ban this widely discredited practice. Conversion therapy is a practice that attempts to convert sexual orientation and gender identity using psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions.

The Bay Area Reporter previously reported on the groundbreaking United Nations report last year, when Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations independent expert on protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, said the practice “may amount to torture. “The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and other professional and professional organizations condemn this practice, which has been refuted by many in the medical profession.

The New Democrats and Liberals in the Canadian legislature gathered on December 1 in an emotional vote brought forward by the Conservatives in a surprise motion to speed up legislation. The move saw the Liberals walk across the aisle shaking hands and hugging their legislative counterparts after the vote.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had already tried to pass the law twice with his Liberal colleagues.

“There are clearly people in the Conservative caucus who have shown great leadership on this issue, and I thank them,” Federal Justice Minister David Lametti told The Guardian. “This is what we can do when Parliament works together.”

Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who is also Trudeau’s special advisor on LGBTQ issues, welcomed the vote, calling it “a big day for survivors.”

“We said we want people to be on the right side of history on this issue. No one can consent to torture,” Boissonnault told reporters. “It’s a great day for the survivors to know that no one else is going to go through what they went through.”

Trudeau’s Liberal Party made two attempts to push the bill forward, but both efforts failed. In June, an earlier version of the bill was approved by the House with 62 Conservatives voting against the motion. This bill was not introduced in the Senate until the federal election in September. In March 2020, the bill died after the end of the parliamentary session.

Previously, several Conservative MPs feared mental health professionals, religious leaders and teachers would be criminalized if they spoke about gender identity or sexual orientation with children.

These objections were unfounded, Lametti told the BBC.

Laws differ by country, state
The bans on conversion therapy are unclear across the world. Some countries and states protect adults and / or give adults the option of seeking services. Bans on conversion therapy for minors are more common. According to Stonewall UK, only 13 countries have registered some form of national ban on conversion therapy, along with many states, provinces and cities around the world.

Adults are protected from conversion therapy in Ecuador if the practice takes place in a rehabilitation clinic. Malta legally protects “vulnerable adults”, with clear definitions of “vulnerabilities” and / or when conversion therapy is performed by a professional. Germany’s ban includes adults who are subjected to “force, fraud or pressure,” according to Stonewall United Kingdom. All three also prohibit the practice for minors. Andalusia, Aragon, Madrid and Valencia in Spain prohibit this practice for adults of all ages, according to the World 2020 report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association.

Some provinces and states around the world have banned conversion therapy. BAR previously reported that the states of Queensland and Victoria in Australia have made the practice a criminal offense for all ages. Queensland law exempted religious institutions. Madras to India did not specify age. Mexico’s Yucatan recently banned the practice for all ages, but sentences could double for offenses against minors, the Gay Times reported.

Minors are protected from conversion therapy in Mexico City. In the United States, minors are prohibited in 20 states, including California and the Territory of Puerto Rico, according to the Movement advancement project. According to MAP, Alabama, Florida and Georgia have preliminary injunctions preventing the application of conversion therapy bans.

Healthcare professionals are banned from performing conversion therapy in Argentina, Chile, Samoa, Taiwan (where it is criminalized for healthcare professionals) and Murcia, Spain.

Legislation banning conversion therapy is at various stages of review in Denmark, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and Norway.

ILGA-World reported in 2020 that the Norwegian Labor Party announced a 10-point plan to increase LGBTQ rights in June of the same year. The plan included a ban on conversion therapy and intersex genital mutilation. The plan was rejected by parliament, but Norway’s new government is considering banning conversion therapy, Trans Express reported. It is not clear whether lawmakers across the country will target all ages or just minors.

the UK is currently studying a set of proposals to ban conversion therapy.

Undercover report dismisses US evangelical conversion therapy groups in Costa Rica
Therapists linked to Focus on the Family and Exodus Global Alliance were arrested performing conversion therapy in Costa Rica last month, a website reported.

Conservative groups based in the United States have been discovered by undercover journalists posing as LGBTQ teens in Costa Rica whom therapists “treated” or “offered to treat” sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a report by Open Democracy released on November 24.

Focus on the Family is a conservative organization founded by psychologist James Dobson in 1977. FRC is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Exodus Global Alliance is a Christian group that defends and promotes so-called ex-gay movements, according to its website. The group formed the global arm of the controversial and now defunct Exodus International.

Conversion therapy is condemned by the official mental health associations of Costa Rica: the Costa Rican Association of Psychiatry (La Asociación Costarricense de Psiquiatría) and the College of Psychological Professionals of Costa Rica (Colegio de Profesionales en Psicología de Costa Rica) .

According to the report, a journalist involved in the undercover project impersonated a straight married woman who had entered into an extramarital affair with a woman. She reached out to Enfoque a la Familia, the Costa Rican branch of Focus on the Family, through the organization’s website to ask for help. She found a psychologist listed on the site, and booked and paid for a therapy appointment online.

Another reporter visited Exodus Latinoamérica, the Exodus Global Alliance group, posing as a young gay man. He was referred to Metanoia Minister, a local religious group. A therapist across this group offers “therapy” sessions paid for in cash.

During a phone call, an undercover reporter told an undercover reporter: “No one is born homosexual because only a sadistic God would forbid this sin in the Bible and, at the same time, create you like that,” according to the report.

These are two of the many cases that found conversion therapy to be alive and well in Costa Rica, the report notes. Journalists have documented therapists comparing sexual orientation and gender identity to drug addiction, sexual abuse, pornography, defecation and parental sin among some of their claims and reasons for being gay, according to the report.

The therapists contacted by the journalists were certified by the Costa Rican Association of Psychiatry.

Enrique Sánchez, Costa Rica’s first openly gay lawmaker, has called on President Carolos Alvarado Quesada to prioritize his bill to ban conversion therapy, according to the report. He hopes there will be a vote on the bill before the country’s general election in February.

Costa Rican lawmaker José María Villalta introduced a bill to Congress in 2018 to ban licensed professionals from performing conversion therapy. Evangelical political parties have blocked progress on the bill in parliament, according to the report.

LGBTQ activists don’t hope the latest bill will solve the problem. They believe that Focus on the Family and Exodus Global Alliance will find loopholes.

“If I listen to 10 teenagers a month, eight tell me that they have been taken or offered to them [conversion sessions at churches] or were told by their mothers, ‘We are going to do this,’ “Shi Alarcón, sociologist and sexual diversity activist for Casa Rara, an LGBTQ youth support group in Costa Rica, told LGBTQ Nation.

She said adolescents are subjected to traumatic torture at alarming rates and conversion therapy camps are growing across Costa Rica.

Alarcón called on lawmakers to expand Costa Rica’s hate crimes laws to include conversion therapy and to stop calling the practice “therapy,” the outlet reported.

In one separate report published on the same date, Open Democracy discovered Focus on the Family and Exodus Global Alliance operating in states in the United States that restricted the practice of conversion therapy.

Got advice on international LGBTQ news? Call them or send them to Heather Cassell at WhatsApp / Signal: 415-517-7239, or [email protected]

Help the Bay Area Reporter keep going through these trying times. To support local, independent and LGBTQ journalism, consider become a BAR member.

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