Con­ver­sion ther­apy ban not enough to stop it

Al­ber­tans who have done con­ver­sion ther­apy say it was ‘dam­ag­ing’ and ‘hu­mil­i­at­ing’

StarMetro Toronto - - CANADA & WORLD - Kevin Maimann Evan Rad­ford

Wesley Jensen says the four years fol­low­ing his con­ver­sion ther­apy were the low­est point of his life. CAL­GARY—WESLEY Jensen says the four years fol­low­ing his con­ver­sion ther­apy were the low­est point of his life.

Af­ter sev­eral ses­sions with a Mor­mon church-spon­sored coun­sel­lor in south­ern Al­berta, Jensen dated women and did ev­ery­thing he could to be “straight” in his early adult years.

He be­came in­tensely de­pressed and border­line sui­ci­dal, and started tak­ing an­tide­pres­sants and anx­i­ety med­i­ca­tion.

“I al­ways felt like there was some­thing wrong with me,” Jensen said. “I felt very de­pressed, very anx­ious, very up­set with my­self for not be­ing able to be what my par­ents and my re­li­gion told me I should be.”

Con­ver­sion ther­apy is a con­tro­ver­sial pseudo-sci­en­tific prac­tice adopted by some reli­gions that aims to change a per­son’s sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion from gay or bi­sex­ual to het­ero­sex­ual. Men, women and chil­dren who have been sub­jected to it have called con­ver­sion ther­apy dam­ag­ing, de­mean­ing and in­sid­i­ous.

The Cana­dian Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion and the Col­lege of Al­berta Psy­chol­o­gists (CAP) op­pose the prac­tice, with CAP deputy reg­is­trar Troy Janzen say­ing sci­en­tific re­search “gen­er­ally does not sup­port that there is any ef­fi­cacy in con­ver­sion or repar­a­tive ther­apy” and some cases have shown “neg­a­tive out­comes.”

DAVID ROS­SITER FOR STARMETRO CAL­GARY

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