Conversion therapy is still happening in Canada, today. This is something that we as Canadians often hear about in relation to our neighbours to the south, but not so much about here at home. It’s true, though. No federal bans have been put in place to stop these practices, and it’s still going on.

Not sure what conversion therapy is? In simple terms it’s the practice of trying to “repair”, change, or suppress a person’s sexual orientation/attraction to members of the same gender, or do the same to their gender identity or expression. It is neither effective at changing sexual orientation or gender identity, and can cause numerous psychological harms.

Here’s the point where you may be wondering “why is the BCCDC Foundation, which focuses on public health, talking about conversion therapy?” That’s fair. This is important to us and part of our current Emerging Areas priority because of the health implications that are caused and exacerbated by conversion therapy, and because it’s an issue of health equity.

We at the Foundation believe in and support work that promotes health and wellness in all its facets, and that our role is to foster health equity  across the board. Because of the trauma and psychological harms (self-hatred, depression, anxiety, and suicide) that conversion therapy can cause, along with challenges with substance use and threats to mental health, we see this as an important and aligned space to be involved in, and are areas of work at our partner organization, the BCCDC.

We’re working with Dr Travis Salway to support his new work and research into conversion therapy (also known as sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, or SOGICE). Dr Salway has partnered with the Community Based Research Centre and Born Perfect on a dialogue event that brings together survivors, researchers, support workers, policy advisors, and legal experts. Their conversation will support survivors in telling their stories in a supportive, affirming, and collaborative environment. Those stories and the collective expertise will begin to form important research questions to answer with the aims of empowering survivors, identifying how to best support the health and wellness of LGBTQ2S youth and adult survivors, how to create institutional change, and what advocacy can be done to end SOGICE practices. The health of LGBTQ2S communities is an essential part of public health.

Listen to what Dr Salway has to say about conversion therapy

We really need your help to support this cause, improve LGBTQ2S health, and promote health equity by making a gift to the crowdfunding campaign today. You can also help us out by raising awareness and sharing this campaign and post with your friends.

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