Dalila Ali Rajah
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Canada Bans the Dangerous Practice of LGBTQ+ 'Conversion Therapy'

Rainbow Flag with Canadian Flag in the middle

A bill outlawing LGBTQ+ conversion therapy was approved by Canada’s government Wednesday. It’ll take effect at the start of next month.

The legislation received “royal assent,” which is a ceremonial signing by the governor general of Canada or a deputy, after receiving unanimous support in Canada’s House of Commons and Senate, according to The Hill.

Conversion therapy is a harmful and discredited practice attempting to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity. The practice has been condemned by the American Medical Association and other leading medical and mental health groups.

Under the new law, the country’s criminal code will make conversion therapy illegal for children and adults. Promoting or profiting off the practice will be a criminal offense.

“It’s official: Our government’s legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has received Royal Assent — meaning it is now law. LGBTQ2 [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and Two-Spirit] Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

Canada’s Liberal government has tried previously to pass the ban, but those attempts failed in Parliament.  

“The unanimous support it received from every official in Parliament sends a clear message to LGBTQ2 Canadians: you are valid and deserving of a life free from harm,” Nicholas Schiavo, the founder of No Conversion Canada, said in a statement, The Hill reports. “Today, as we celebrate this historic moment, we must thank survivors and their tireless advocacy to reach this moment where conversion ‘therapy’ is finally outlawed in our country.”

The country joins a growing list of nations that have banned conversion therapy, including Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, and Malta.

Twenty states in the U.S. have banned the practice for minors. Five states have partial bans on it, while three states are prevented from enforcing a ban due to a federal injunction.

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