Press Releases

Canadian conversion therapy survivors call for actions: Report

February 18, 2020   |   Press Releases

For immediate release: Eliminating conversion therapy in Canada will require a multi-part strategy, including support for survivors, legislative action (such as bans), institutional change, and clear communications, according to a new report from a dialogue in Vancouver, organized by conversion therapy survivors, community leaders, researchers, and allies.

Today, the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity (CGSHE), in collaboration with community and academic partners, released a new report outlining the nature and scope of ongoing conversion therapy practices, also known as sexual orientation and gender identity or expression change efforts (SOGIECE) in Canada. The report, Ending conversion therapy in Canada: Survivors, community leaders, researchers, and allies address the current and future states of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts, was developed following a November 2019 meeting in Vancouver where 31 conversion therapy survivors, LGBTQ2 community leaders, researchers, and policy advocates gathered to share professional and lived experiences of SOGIECE.

Available for interviews:

  • Travis Salway, Research Scientist, CGSHE and BC Centre for Disease Control; Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Matt Ashcroft, conversion therapy survivor
  • Erika Muse, conversion therapy survivor
  • Michael Kwag, Policy Director, Community-Based Research Centre

The report explains how and why multiple multiple actions are needed to address SOGIECE, including support for SOGIECE survivors, legislation and policy, changes within institutions that perpetrate SOGIECE, and increased communications. “The most important thing is how can we create therapy and better models for helping victims and survivors so they can move on with their lives and heal,” said Erika Muse, an activist, writer, and SOGIECE survivor.

SOGIECE refers to a broad set of treatments, practices, or sustained efforts that aim to repress, discourage, or change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The report comes as the Canadian government works to develop legislation to ban conversion therapy practices across Canada. “A federal conversion therapy ban is a critical step toward eradicating these practices from Canada,” said Travis Salway, who co-authored the report as a CGSHE Research Scientist and an assistant professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. “It sends a clear message to parents, practitioners, and LGBTQ2 people themselves, that LGBTQ2 identities are valued, and that any attempts to repress or deny these identities are tantamount to abuse.”

In June of 2019, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health recommended that “the Government of Canada work with the provinces and territories to eliminate the practice of conversion therapy in Canada and consider making further modifications to the Criminal Code.” After the last federal election in October 2019, the Canadian government indicated it would ban conversion therapy through an amendment to the federal criminal code.

“It is time for action on the part of all levels of government in Canada to end these inhumane practices,” said Salway. “In preparation for this momentous change, we urge all Canadians to read our report, learn about ongoing SOGIECE in Canada and what can be done to support the wellness of LGBTQ2 people.”

This report is the result of a partnership between the following organizations:

  • Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity, Vancouver, Canada
  • Community-Based Research Centre, Vancouver, Canada
  • British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), Vancouver, Canada
  • BCCDC Foundation for Public Health, Vancouver, Canada
  • Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
  • No Conversion Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • Born Perfect, San Francisco, United States of America

To read the executive summary, click here.

To read the full report, click here.

To read the report appendix, click here: