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  • Olivia Baker

Fondation Émergence Is Fighting Against Conversion Therapy

Launching an extensive national public awareness and educational campaign

Montreal, Feb. 28, 2023 — Despite being illegal since December 2021, conversion therapy continues to be a reality in Quebec and Canada. This practice seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Fondation Émergence is launching its public awareness campaign, To put an end to conversion therapies, aiming to increase people’s knowledge of conversion therapy and its ramifications, support the community of victims, and equip intervention and educational groups with the tools to recognize, prevent and end it.

Fondation Émergence’s project, which is funded by the Quebec government’s Bureau de lutte contre l’homophobie et la transphobie and the Department of Justice Canada and carried out jointly with Éducaloi, Justice Pro Bono and UQAM’s Research Chair on Sexual Diversity and Gender Plurality, includes a number of educational tools to be distributed across Canada.

People will be able to learn more about conversion therapy through an informative pamphlet, a short film featuring a conversion therapy survivor’s personal account, and a podcast series debunking conversion practices and their effects. The first episode will be available on all listening platforms March 7th.

Lastly, Fondation Émergence will provide members of the province’s health care and social services network, the educational system and the law enforcement community with a brand-new training program. It will help them identify signs of conversion practices, understand their impact, support prevention and contribute to ending them.

Insidious Practices

The scientific community now acknowledges that conversion therapies are an infringement of personal integrity. Yet, data from the SAVIE-LGBTQ partnership research project, Quebec’s largest project carried out by and for the LGBTQ+ communities to date, shows that one in four LGBTQ+ people in Quebec report having undergone conversion efforts. A UN report states that these practices occur most often under the guise of medical and mental health care (45.8%), or by religious leaders or healers (18.9%). It’s under this cover that conversion therapy persists illegally. It continues to have serious consequences for victims, who can suffer from anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, addiction and suicidal ideation, among other things.

Fondation Émergence’s public awareness campaign will help increase our collective knowledge of signs of conversion therapy. It is a necessary step toward eliminating it.

About Fondation Émergence

Fondation Émergence fights against homophobia and transphobia through various public awareness programs such as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which takes place May 17, and it launched ProAlly to promote LGBTQ+ people’s inclusion in the workplace and Aging Gayfully to advocate for LGBTQ+ seniors’ rights. Moreover, the Chosen Family program’s mission is to reach out to LGBTQ+ people who act as caregivers for seniors, supporting them and informing them of available services, and helping them gain useful knowledge for their role.

About Éducaloi

Founded in 2000, Éducaloi is a neutral and independent nonprofit organization that has developed two recognized areas of expertise: clear legal communication and legal education. Its mission is to explain the law in plain language and develop Quebecers’ legal literacy to foster greater individual and community autonomy. 

About Justice Pro Bono

Justice Pro Bono’s mission is to improve access to justice by rallying the legal community to offer their expertise and time individuals, communities and nonprofit organizations in Quebec who lack the resources to access legal services.

About UQAM’s Research Chair on Sexual and Gender Diversity

The Research Chair on Sexual Diversity and Gender Plurality brings together government, community and university partners seeking to support recognition of sexual and gender minorities’ realities by expanding knowledge and leveraging acquired knowledge to develop, implement and evaluate programs and measures that fight discrimination and the various forms of exclusion, devaluation and disempowerment these people face.

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