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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

Quadriplegic Saanich man seeks continuity of home care from Island Health

Island Health took over home care services in November

Public hearing coming for Victoria police officer accused of sexual misconduct

Police watchdog hearing follows VPD investigation into allegations

Lawyer says substitute teacher fought sexual urges for 30 years

Former Victoria badminton coach Harry Charles Sadd to be sentenced for sexual abuse of boys

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Most Read