Canada House Passes Conversion Therapy Ban; Still Legal in 30 US States

Canada House Passes Conversion Therapy Ban; Still Legal in 30 US States

On June 22, 2021, Canada’s House of Commons passed a bill criminalizing LGBT conversion therapy nationwide by a vote of 263 to 63. The bill now heads to the Senate. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enthusiastically supports the legislation. (Read news stories here and here)

[UPDATE: The senate did not vote on this bill before they adjourned for the summer.]

The bill prohibits all conversion therapy for minors and conversion therapy for adults if it is against their will, while also banning anyone from making profit from or advertising the cruel practice.

Conversion therapy (also called reparative therapy) is the practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity using dubious psychological or spiritual interventions. This practice has been widely discredited by every mainstream medical and mental health organization. (Learn more)

In the United States, only twenty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and a smattering of cities and counties have banned conversion therapy as of June, 2021, according to Wikipedia.

In 2007, when my upcoming novel Becoming Bryan is set, conversion therapy was legal everywhere. The first ban in the US was enacted in 2013. 

Without giving too much away, conversion therapy plays a part in the story line. I included that element in the story to call attention to the fact that, while we have made some progress on eliminating this hateful, harmful practice, we still have a long way to go. Approximately 50% of the US population still lives in a jurisdiction where conversion therapy can be – and still is – practiced.

Former Minnesota representative and 2008 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus Bachmann, practiced conversion therapy at his clinic, and received federal funding to do so. (Read a first-hand account)

My primary purpose in writing Becoming Bryan is to entertain you with a good story. But I also hope to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community’s history and struggle for acceptance – which is ongoing today.


©2021 Dave Hughes.

Image credits:
Canada’s Parliament: wnk1029

Map showing conversion therapy bans: Wikimedia Commons.

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