Yukon becomes first Canadian territory to protect LGBT people from conversion therapy

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      Yukon has become the first Canadian territory to ban conversion therapy, and it is the fourth province or territory in Canada to prohibit the discredited practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

      On November 9, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act, which prohibits healthcare professionals from providing this treatment to minors, received assent at the Yukon legislature in Whitehorse after a unanimous vote of support, according to CBC News.

      The act also prevents conversion therapy from being an insured health service.

      The potentially harmful and widely condemned practice can involve spiritual or psychological counselling, behaviour modification techniques, or medication. 

      Previously, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I. had previously passed legislation banning healthcare professionals from providing this treatment to minors.

      Yukon students had organized a petition in 2019 that called upon the territory to ban conversion therapy.

      In October, the federal Liberals reintroduced a bill to ban conversion therapies for minors or forcing adults undertake the treatment for their sexual orientation or gender identity against their will.

      The legislation had originally been introduced in March before Parliament shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Trudeau’s decision to prorogue Parliament in August erased the bill.

      Vancouver became the first Canadian city to ban the practice in June 2018, followed by cities such as Calgary and Edmonton.

      A 2019 Canadian survey conducted by Vancouver-based national queer male health organization Community-Based Research Centre found that an estimated 47,000 men in Canada experienced conversion therapy, an amount higher than the previously estimated 20,000 Canadians. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.