Saskatoon

United Church asks Saskatoon city council to ban conversion therapy

A church has sent a letter to Saskatoon city council asking that the city ban a controversial therapy that purports to "cure" people of same-sex attraction.

Controversial therapy purports to 'cure' people of homosexuality

United Church parishoner Fran Forsberg wants conversion therapy banned in Saskatoon. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

A church has sent a letter to Saskatoon city council asking that the city ban a controversial therapy that purports to "cure" people of same-sex attraction.

Conversion therapy aims to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual, or their gender identity to cisgender, which means identifying with the sex biologically assigned to them at birth.

Conversion methods can range from talk therapy to aversion therapy, which tries to change a person's behaviour by causing them discomfort through things like electric shocks.

"The practice of conversion therapy is abhorrent, and its consequences are devastating," reads the letter from Grosvenor Park United Church.

"This practice is premised upon the notion that sexual and gender minorities suffer from an illness that must be corrected."

Vancouver, Edmonton and Lethbridge are among Canadian cities that have banned the therapy. In July, the federal government said it was also considering banning the practice.

"Just speaking personally with people who have gone through the conversion therapy. it hasn't been helpful at all," said Fran Forsberg, a parishoner and mother of a transgender child.

"It perpetuates suicide, especially in youth."

Forsberg said she is heartened the federal government is interested in legislation, but wants to try to get the practice banned locally first.

"It takes so much time to have anything changed federally," she said.

The letter will be discussed at the Governance and Priorities committee on Tuesday.

About the Author

David Shield is a web writer for CBC Saskatoon.