YQueerL group wel­comes pos­si­ble Con­ver­sion Ther­apy ban

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - Tim Kali­nowski LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

The Leth­bridge LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity is hail­ing a pro­posed provincewide ban on the con­tro­ver­sial prac­tice of Con­ver­sion Ther­apy in Al­berta. Devon Har­g­reaves, co-pres­i­dent of YQueerL So­ci­ety for Change, told The Her­ald the ban, in­cluded in a pri­vate mem­bers bill by Ed­mon­ton-Cas­tle Downs NDP MLA Nicole Goehring, was long past due.

“It’s 2018, and there is no rea­son that Con­ver­sion Ther­apy should still be le­gal,” said Har­g­reaves. “We ap­plaud MLA Nicole Goehring’s pri­vate mem­ber bill to ban Con­ver­sion Ther­apy, and we do hope the gov­ern­ment sup­ports it whole­heart­edly.”

Con­ver­sion Ther­apy is a pseu­do­sci­en­tific prac­tice which be­lieves it is pos­si­ble to change an in­di­vid­ual’s sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion from ho­mo­sex­ual or bi­sex­ual to het­ero­sex­ual us­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal or spir­i­tual in­ter­ven­tions.

“The is­sue we have with that,” said Har­g­reaves, “be­sides the men­tal, emo­tional and some­times phys­i­cal scar­ring of the prac­tice, is that it is based in an in­her­ent be­lief that be­ing queer is wrong. To try to change one’s ori­en­ta­tion on this type moral or re­li­gious ba­sis is ac­tu­ally what is wrong, and it is morally rep­re­hen­si­ble. To try to force­fully change how a child or in­di­vid­ual iden­ti­fies just be­cause it doesn’t fit your moral code is ruf­fian.”

Har­g­reaves points out if Al­berta goes through with the ban it would not be the first prov­ince or ju­ris­dic­tion in Canada to do so.

“Right now On­tario and Man­i­toba have banned it, and the City of Van­cou­ver it­self ac­tu­ally bans it. I re­ally hope the Gov­ern­ment and Op­po­si­tion, and ev­ery­one in­volved, re­al­izes that this is a mat­ter of pro­tec­tion for queer youth, and this should be passed with­out be­ing turned into a me­dia cir­cus.”

How­ever, Har­g­reaves may not get his wish in that re­spect. While lo­cal NDP MLA Shannon Phillips was quick to en­dorse the bill when it was an­nounced ear­lier this week, UCP leader Ja­son Ken­ney was non-com­mit­tal on the is­sue when he vis­ited Leth­bridge Fri­day.

"We haven't seen the bill," Ken­ney told re­porters. "We don't com­ment on leg­is­la­tion we haven't seen."

Fol­low @TimKalHer­ald on Twit­ter

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