Saskatchewan

Regina mayor supports a ban on conversion therapy in the Queen City

An LGBTQ advocacy group is calling on the City of Regina to follow Saskatoon’s lead by banning conversion therapy.

The mayor says she is against the practice and would vote in favour of a ban

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters says she is against conversion therapy and she would vote in favour of banning the practice from the city. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Queen City For All, a local LGBTQ advocacy group, wants the City of Regina to follow Saskatoon's lead by banning conversion therapy. 

On Tuesday, Saskatoon banned conversion therapy, a practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. 

It employs various approaches, from talk therapy and medication, to aversion therapy that attempts to condition a person's behaviour by causing them discomfort through things like electric shocks when they're exposed to specific stimuli. 

"So-called 'conversion therapy' is a widely discredited and violent practice that harms LGBTQ2+ people and families, and makes them more vulnerable to abuse and suicide," said Queen City For All spokesperson Kent Peterson in a statement. 

Exploring a similar ban in Regina

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters says she is against the practice and would vote in favour the ban. 

"It has a place to be heard before council, and I would welcome that topic to come forward," Masters said. 

In December, Regina city council created a community wellness committee, intended to focus on discussions around issues like housing, poverty reduction, mental and physical wellness, addiction, discrimination and other social determinants of health and crime. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

She is encouraging the public to bring the issue forward to the city's safety and wellness committee, which was created in December to address mental and physical wellness, discrimination and other social determinants of health and crime. 

"This is exactly the issue that should go before this committee. They should review it, hear from delegates on both sides of the argument, and then make a recommendation into council," Masters said. 

Conversion therapy considered a harmful pseudoscience 

Conversion therapy was banned in several Western Canadian cities including  Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Lethbridge. 

The federal government wants to change the Criminal Code to enact a national ban on the controversial practice of conversion therapy. (CBC)

The federal government was looking to ban conversion therapy and promised changes to the Criminal Code to criminalize aspects of it. However, it's not clear when that bill will pass.

The practice has also been denounced by scientists and medical professionals as a pseudoscience. 

Studies have shown conversion therapy is ineffective and harmful.

In 2012, the World Health Organization publicly stated this type of therapy poses a "severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons."

The Canadian Psychological Association has also spoken out against the practice. 

In 2015, the organization issued a statement warning, "conversion or reparative therapy can result in negative outcomes, such as distress, anxiety, depression, negative self-image, a feeling of personal failure, difficulty sustaining relationships, and sexual dysfunction."

With files from Alvin Yu.

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