No more conversion therapies

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On December 8, 2021, the Canadian government officially banned conversion therapy practices throughout the country. Following this modification to the criminal code, the Canadian government launched a call for projects in order to, among other things, sensitize the Canadian people to conversion therapy practices.  From this call for projects, Fondation Émergence obtained financial support for its project "En finir avec les thérapies de conversion" from the Department of Justice Canada. Funding was also granted from the Quebec Department of Justice for this project.

Main objective: To increase the collective ability to support and accompany the victims of conversion therapies with their entourage at the psychosocial and legal levels, particularly by offering information tools to people and intervention environments (e.g., schools, police services, and health and social services) so that they can recognize and clarify conversion therapies, and then direct victims and their entourage to psychological and legal support resources.

Definition

  • Conversion therapy practices aim to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual, change their gender identity to cisgender, or change their gender expression to match the sex they were assigned at birth. They harm and further stigmatize people of different sexualities and genders and undermine their equality and dignity. (Source: Government of Canada)

For example, they aim to:

  • "convert" a gay, lesbian or bisexual person into a heterosexual person

  • increase the level of sexual attraction of an asexual person (i.e., a person with little or no sexual attraction) to a level considered more "normal"

  • "Converting" a trans or non-binary person into a cisgender person (i.e., a person who identifies with his or her sex assigned at birth).

  • Masculinizing an effeminate man or feminizing a masculine woman

Where do these practices come from?

They are based on centuries of oppression and stigmatization of sexual and gender diversity and on beliefs that persist today:

 

  • Sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity are the result of a person's choice or upbringing and can therefore, be changed.

  • Sexual and gender diversity is believed to be the result of a disorder, trauma or mental illness. This belief has been supported by the health care community until recently.

What forms can conversion practices take?

Libido-suppressing or libido-enhancing drugs, hormone treatments, psychotherapy, coaching sessions, masculinity/femininity camps, behavioral therapies, aversion therapies, group therapies, hypnosis, exorcism, meditations, prayers, food deprivation, confinement, lobotomies, tutoring, social pressures.

What the law prohibits

  • Providing or arranging for conversion therapy for any person;

  • promoting or advertising conversion therapy

  • sending a child for conversion therapy;

  • receiving a material benefit, including a pecuniary benefit, from the provision of conversion therapy.

Bill C-4 also adds provisions to authorize courts to make certain orders related to the promotion of conversion therapy, such as requiring the removal of advertisements for conversion therapy services from the Internet or computer systems.

Some statistics

10%

According to the results of the Center for Community Research's 2019-2020 Sex Now Survey, 10% of sexual minority men who responded to the survey have been subjected to conversion therapy practices. The survey results also showed that low-income, Native American, racialized, and diverse gender identity individuals are disproportionately represented among those exposed to conversion therapy.

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11 countries

Only 11 countries in the world criminalize conversion therapy.

  • Canada

  • Argentina

  • Taiwan

  • China

  • Brazil

  • France

  • Ecuador

  • Albania

  • Germany

  • India

  • Uruguay

7X

Trans people report 7 times more conversion efforts. (Blais, M., 2022)

According to a UN report, conversion therapy is perpetrated at:

  • 45,8 %     by medical and mental health care providers.

  • 18.9 %        by religious leaders or healers.

  • 8,5%            in conversion camps and rehabilitation centers

  • 6,9%            by parents

Training services

As part of its funding, Fondation Émergence aims to train workers who provide services to the LGBTQ+ population to prevent and intervene in conversion therapy situations. These trainings will serve, among other things, to recognize and clarify conversion therapies, to explain the complaints process and good intervention practices. This training is offered for several environments including schools, police and health and social services.

Outreach materials

Coming soon

Helping Resources Available

  • Éducaloi's mission is to popularize the law and develop the legal skills of the people in Quebec. Éducaloi is involved in legal information, legal education and clear communication of the law (more information is coming).

  • Justice Pro Bono's mission is to improve access to justice by mobilizing the legal community to share their expertise and time to individuals, communities and NPOs in Quebec who lack the resources to access legal services. (More information is coming)

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Financial partner

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Partners

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CONTACT

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INFO

Fondation Émergence inc.
CP 55510
Maisonneuve Center
Montreal, QC, H1W 0A1

(438) 384-1058

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