August 12, 2019

The SFSS Board of Directors is advocating for a nationwide ban on the practice of “Conversion therapy (CT)” in Canada.

“CT” aims to change the sexual orientation of same-sex-attracted people using physical, psychological, and spiritual means. More recently, ‘CT’ has been applied to transgender individuals to make them identify in a way consistent with their sex assigned at birth.

“The SFSS Board of Directors passed this motion because it is the right thing to do. It is incumbent upon all of us to advocate against practices that are detrimental to the LGBTQ2S+ community, including our students,” asserted SFSS President Giovanni HoSang. “We must continue to raise our concerns around oppressive practices such as conversion therapy or any other harmful practice and advocate on these issues both inside and outside of campus.”

“CT” can utilize a range of methods, including aversion therapy, religious atonement, and chemical interventions, and operates on the assumption that sexual and gender diversity is abnormal and requires “treatment.” Numerous mainstream health organizations – including the Canadian Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, and British Psychological Society – have condemned such practices as lacking efficacy and inducing significant personal distress.

“The reported effects of Conversion Therapy are long-lasting. SFSS supports students of the LGBTQ2s+ community through our Out on Campus and Women’s Centre. Some of the resources could assist students to overcome the aftermath of these practices,” said HoSang. “Until these problematic procedures are discontinued, SFSS will continue to stand steadfast by the LGBTQ2S+ community and will continue to demand a Nationwide Ban on Conversion Therapy.”

Presently, no estimates have been made regarding the number of Canadians who have received “CT”. As of January 2018, The Williams Institute estimates that almost 700,000 people in the U.S. have received “CT”, with over half of them receiving it as adolescents.

The Criminal Code of Canada does not currently prevent the practice of “CT” nationwide. This year, the federal government rejected a petition of over 18,000 signatories in favor of banning it federally on the basis that healthcare is dealt with provincially and that existing Criminal Code offences may apply to the practice of “CT”.

“A recent poll by Research Co. found that 58% of Canadians would ban ‘conversion therapy’,” said SFSS Executive Director Sylvia Ceacero. “Provinces, such as Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia and cities such as Vancouver, have banned or restricted this questionable practice. We ask our Federal leaders to protect the LGBTQ2S+ community across the nation by implementing a complete ban of conversion therapy.”