Third time’s a charm: Gay conversion therapy is now banned nationally in Canada


Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona via

After two failed attempts, Canada has successfully passed legislation to ban conversion therapy.

Harper Clark, Student Life Editor

After two failed attempts, history is being made as Canada bans conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is any attempt that targets the LGBTQ+ commuminty to change gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. For years, this community has been pressured to forcibly change themselves, but now, Canada is making steps in the right direction toward acceptance.

New legislation makes it illegal to provide and promote conversion therapy. This will go into effect on Jan. 7.

Ranging from talk and behavioral therapy to medical procedures, conversion therapy has been discredited by multiple major medical organizations in many countries, including the US, but has not been banned in a majority of them.

Groups like the United Nations, World Health Organization, Amnesty International and others say conversion therapy causes harm to the victims that have to endure this form of abuse. Many also believe that it is based on a false premise that sexual and gender identity are able to and should be “cured.”

Senior Grace Engstrom is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. She said, “Loving who you love is something that nobody can change. But the fact that people try to is disgusting to me.”

Canada’s third attempt to ban conversion therapy nationwide was finally a success, now making it a crime to have anyone undergo conversion therapy even with their consent. This time, the legislation was passed unanimously.

Hopefully, Canada’s actions will influence other countries to do the same. For example, France joined Canada and banned conversion therapy. Unfortunately, the likelihood of legislation like this passing in the US is extremely slim. 

Gay marriage in the US has only been legalised for less than a decade, causing tensions surrounding the subject to still be prevalent. Despite gay marriage being legal since 2015, a large part of the population is still opposed, and until gay marriage and other gender identities are more widely accepted, nothing will get passed.

Engstrom commented, “I would like to think that conversion therapy will one day be banned in the US, but the truth is the US is very split politically. I can see conversion therapy sticking around even though many people like me find it completely unacceptable and appalling.”

The US has a two party political system where middle ground is practically impossible to find. Democrats are the main supporters of gay marriage and exploratory gender identity, while some Republicans frequently use the Bible to back up their beliefs. To some on the right, being gay is a sin.

Maybe eventually conversion therapy will be banned by state law in some places, but until the large majority can realize that being gay is normal and conversion therapy is a form of physical and mental abuse, progress in the US is halted.