B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver, flanked by his two caucus members Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau, and members of LGBTQ community, attend a news conference at the legislature in Victoria, Monday, May 27, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner)

B.C. Greens table bill to ban ‘conversion therapy’

New law would ban controversial practice of trying to change person’s sexuality for those under 19

A proposed new law in B.C. would ban the controversial practice of attempting to change a person’s sexuality.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver tabled legislation Monday that would stop the use of so-called conversion therapy in the province for those under 19 years old.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s ‘conversion therapy’ ban more than symbolic, experts say

The therapy is abusive and damaging to people and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Protection Act aims to ensure the health and safety of the members of the province’s LGBTQ-plus community, he said.

“This bill is designed to bring an end to the abhorrent practice of so-called conversion therapy, a form of transphobia and homophobia,” Weaver said at a news conference prior to introducing the legislation.

“Conversion therapy is an abusive, dangerous practice that should be banned to protect the health and safety of the LGBTQ-plus community, children and youth in particular,” said Weaver, who was joined by about a half dozen supporters of the legislation, including a man who said he underwent six years of conversion therapy.

Peter Gajdics of Vancouver joined Weaver at the news conference. He said he had counselling and medical treatments in an attempt to “correct his sexual orientation,” which didn’t work and laws are needed to protect others.

Gajdics said he later wrote a book about his experiences, “The Inheritance of Shame: A Memoir.”

He said conversion therapy is “an assault on a person’s sense of self, their identity and their soul. Gay and trans people do not need to be changed, cured or fixed. They need to be loved and accepted.”

Weaver said the proposed B.C. law would prohibit conversion therapy for youth under 19 by health professionals, reject payment or reimbursement to health insurance and wouldn’t allow public funds to be used for conversion therapy, including medical services premiums.

Opposition party bills usually don’t become law, but Weaver said he’s hopeful the bill will be supported in the legislature by the governing New Democrats and Opposition Liberals.

There are only a few days of the scheduled legislative session left and Weaver said if the proposed legislation isn’t passed this week, he expects the bill, or a reworked version like it, to be passed in the fall sitting.

The B.C. Health Ministry said in a statement that conversion therapy has never been covered under the medical services plan and health professional cannot bill the care system for the service.

Vancouver council passed a bylaw last year banning techniques that attempt to persuade people to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ontario and Nova Scotia passed laws in 2015 banning conversion therapy while Manitoba told its health authorities and medical colleges not to support the practice.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

SAMS students participate in Climate Change strike

SAMS students joined millions of people around the globe who walked out of school and work today

Fire claims two historic buildings in downtown Williams Lake

Several other businesses damaged by water used to fight the blaze

Update: Firefighters battle blaze in downtown Williams Lake

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Gilbert, Drynock charged with first degree murder of Branton Regner

The accused also face two counts of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Area 51 events mostly peaceful; thousands in Nevada desert

Three more people were arrested Friday on the remote once-secret military base

B.C. First Nation signs agreement to return its land on Vancouver Island

The land on the east coast of Vancouver Island will be returned to the We Wai Kai Nation

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Most Read