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Vancouver becomes first Canadian city to ban conversion therapy

The Vancouver city council voted unanimously to ban the controversial practice

By Fabio Crispim

Vancouver has become the first Canadian city to ban gay conversion therapy in a move backed by the city’s counsellors. 

While Vancouver has only just become the first city to ban the controversial practice, the Canadian states of Ontario and Manitoba have already banned it. 

Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency of Canada has previously condemned conversion therapy. 

The motion said: “The Council of the City of Vancouver is strongly committed to supporting the equality and human rights of the LGBTQ2+ community and all city residents.

“Sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are prohibited grounds of discrimination in the British Columbia Human Rights Code.”

“The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ or ‘reparative therapy’, pseudo-scientific techniques that attempt to persuade persons to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, is seriously harmful to persons and is opposed by the Canadian Psychological Association, the World Health Organisation, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and others.”

“The Council of the City of Vancouver is authorised to prohibit businesses, with a unanimous vote of Council… the Vancouver Charter and has prohibited a variety of businesses. Therefore be it resolved that Council supports… amending the Business Prohibition [laws]] to prohibit the business of providing conversion therapy to minors.” 

The ban was initially just for minors but was amended by Councillor George Affleck who applied the bill to all citizens in the city. 

Peter Gajdics, a survivor of conversion therapy and the man who helped campaign for the bill, told the Vancouver Star: “I feel victorious. I actually didn’t think it was going to happen; I kept thinking something was going to get in the way.”

He added: “This is huge for Vancouver to take this position.”