The National Association of Women and the Law is a not-for-profit feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of women, in all their diversity, through legal education, research and law reform advocacy. We are writing to voice our support for Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), as it proceeds to the Senate for consideration.
Banning conversion therapy would provide needed protection for the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, including young people, to live free from harm and discrimination. History is replete with examples of women undergoing psychological and psychiatric “treatment”, such as lobotomies and abuse of electroshock therapy, ostensibly aimed at improving their mental health but in reality, designed to enforce patriarchal norms of femininity. We must learn from history and ensure that no person in Canada is ever exposed to discriminatory and harmful psychological and psychiatric treatment.
Therapy must not be tainted by discriminatory beliefs, but instead be based exclusively on the best interests of the patient. Patients should nevertheless be permitted to fully explore issues related to their gender identity and sexual orientation in therapy, if there is a legitimate therapeutic reason for doing so. Our reading of Bill C-6 is that it enshrines these principles. However, we would recommend a review of the Bill within a reasonable period of time (e.g. five years) to ensure it serves its intended purpose.
As a feminist and women’s rights focused organization, we consider Bill C-6 to be a key intervention to protect all individuals from the traumatic, discriminatory, and scientifically discredited practice of conversion therapy. We encourage you to listen to the voices of 2SLGBTQ+ survivors of conversion therapy, and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals who continue to be impacted by discrimination in Canada, by voting in favour of Bill C-6.
Thank you for your time and consideration,