The Calgary Herald reports that the city council took the last step Monday to stop businesses from offering the harmful, widely discredited practice of conversion therapy.
“This is amazing news that prohibits a nefarious practice that destroys lives and wrecks families,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Conversion therapy should be banned across the planet, because it is a dangerous and anachronistic form of torture that teaches people to lie and deny who they are. We thank the terrific LGBT advocates in Calgary and across Canada for their life-saving work to make this dream a reality. “
The vote sees Calgary join other Alberta municipalities, including Edmonton, that have made similar moves to stop any advertising or offering of services that aim to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Anyone found in violation of the bylaw could face a $10,000 fine. The city’s new rules don’t ban services that relate to “non-judgmental exploration and acceptance” of a person’s identity.
The federal government is currently looking to add conversion therapy to the Criminal Code, but the legislation hasn’t passed yet, and their definition of conversion therapy could still change.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said there was an “organized effort” behind the volume of feedback council saw.
“People thought Calgary, with our reputation as a conservative city, would be a place where they could take a stand against the rights of gender and sexually-diverse people,” he said. “And obviously, council today proved them wrong.”
In other news, Human Rights Watch Reports:
Albania’s Order of Psychologists has announced that it will prohibit members from offering “conversion therapy,” or pseudo-therapeutic attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The decision effectively bans conversion therapy in Albania, as registered therapists are required to be members of the group in order to legally practice.
Albania’s prohibition is a welcome development, even if discrimination against LGBT people in the country remains high. Studies have shown that efforts to change sexual orientation and gender identity are ineffective, and may foster anxiety, depression, suicide, and other mental health problems.