With Donald Trump at the helm, we're seeing a greater than usual concentration of Republican inspired behaviour including a renewed interest in converstion therapy as a tool for 'fixing' LGBTQ people.
photo: VICE, Gay Conversion Therapy
Despite advancements like Toby's Law, conversion therapy in Canada is not yet banned at a Federal level and many ex-gay organizations and groups who endorse conversion/reparative therapy continue to operate as registered charities. Some provinces have made gestures or passed laws to make conversion therapy illegal for sexual orientation and gender identity including Ontario and Manitoba.
But it's not banned in Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, NWT, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. And sitting on the fence we have BC, Nanavut, PEI, Quebec and Yukon Territory.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario, conversion therapy is linked to depression and suicide within a population that is already vulnerable. LGBTQ youth face 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers.
And while Ontario banned the practice in 2015 deeming it ineffective and harmful, many still exist AND because they are faith-based organizations, they are registered charities with the Canada Revenue Agency. Which means your tax dollars reimburse their donors.
Here in Canada, there are several organizations that counsel, minister or offer an intensive course to people with same-sex attractions, including the international organization Exodus Global Alliance which incidentally has a branch in Ajax, Ontario.
Then there's Vancouver's Journey Canada which offers courses in Calgary, Cambridge, Charlottetown, Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Peterborough, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. According to their mission "Journey Canada exists to help people find hope and live life through experiencing Jesus in their relationships, sexuality and identity" which quite frankly sounds like the creepiest threesome ever!
If you don't think that's enough to worry about, consider that in their recent annual report they have an annual revenue stream of over $825,000 with 46% of that going towards what they call "Discipling and Supporting Individuals." http://www.journeycanada.org/who-we-are/
As we move further into Trumpland, let's remember there is a ripple effect and so we need to stand against these newly re-bloomed pimples. If you think I should do a follow-up story with Journey Canada or anything else you've heard today, please leave me a comment in the section below. This is Raymond Helkio for My Gay Toronto.