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

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Woman collapses at Eagle Creek Fair Grounds

A woman was taken to the Lakes District Hospital after she collapsed… Continue reading

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

Rattée visits Burns Lake

Claire Rattée, Conservative Party of Canada candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, accompanied by… Continue reading

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Most Read