The Canadian Government has voted unanimously to outlaw ‘conversion’ therapy, but Australia is lagging behind.
Conversion therapy is a ridiculous concept that basically attempts to stop individuals from identifying as anything that isn’t cisgender and straight.
The laws passed by the Trudeau Government mean that anyone who imposes conversion tactics upon someone could be sentenced to five years in prison.
Good news! Today, Members of Parliament worked together to pass our government’s legislation banning conversion therapy – and it is now headed to the Senate. We’ll keep working to make sure this abhorrent and unacceptable practice is prohibited in Canada.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 1, 2021
The practices have been described as “torture” by Canada’s Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, and if anything, that’s a soft term for what some victims are put through. While some intervention strategies are purely psychological, there is strong evidence to suggest that others range from exorcism, beatings, drugs and electric shocks.
In Australia, the only states with laws against conversion therapy are Queensland, Victoria, and the ACT, but the Australian Medical Association (AMA), are calling on the rest of the nation to follow suit.
After Victoria passed their law against conversion practices in February this year, NSW MPs including Health Minister Brad Hazzard showed support for the laws. But no tangible action has been taken in NSW and to this day, conversion therapy is legal and still lurking in the state.
While these procedures aren’t limited to religious groups, they were a prominent focus of the laws passed by Victoria in February. They specifically targeted, “carrying out a religious practice including but not limited to, a prayer based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism”.
The fact that conversion therapy is still legal in most Australian states is a frustratingly blatant disregard for LGBTQIA+ rights but the unanimous vote in Canada has the potential to spur on a bit of action.
Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti recognised the importance of the new laws as he addressed them yesterday, “It’s an important day to love who you want to love. And it’s an important day to express yourself and to understand yourself the way you are and the way you want to be.”