BC Green Party tables bill to ban conversion therapy throughout the province
The BC Green Party has announced that they are tabling legislation to ultimately ban the practice of conversion therapy in the province.
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“Today we are tabling the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act, which will protect the human rights, health, and safety of LGBTQ2+ people by banning so-called conversion therapy in our province,” said BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, during the announcement on Monday.
The legislation prohibits the practice of conversion therapy for anyone under age 19 and BC’s Medical Service Plan being charged for conversion therapy practices. It does not limit access to gender-confirming surgery or legitimate counselling and support services.
Calling conversion therapy a pseudo-scientific practice, Weaver said his party’s new bill “sends a clear message that it is ok to be who you are, that your elected officials and those in positions of power hear you and will act now to protect your human rights.”
He added that trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity has harmful, long-lasting impacts and puts lives at risk.
“It is particularly important and timely to be advancing this ban today, as we hear news that the United Conservative Party of Alberta is walking back the previous government’s commitment to end the practice there,” he said. “All British Columbians deserve to be loved, supported, and accepted – not persecuted – for who they are.”
Weaver said the bill “supports those with diverse sexualities, gender identities, and expressions.”
Last summer, following a motion put forth by former city councillor Tim Stevenson, Vancouver officially banned businesses in the city that practice gay conversion therapy, after a unanimous council vote.