MP Derek Sloan invited professionals and supportive patients to speak this morning in Ottawa against the passing of Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy).
Bill C-6 seeks to criminalize several actions in relation to what is commonly referred to as “conversion therapy”, and goes to a vote in Parliament today.
CPAC's description of the conference describes the Bill's intention as one that would “...amend the Criminal Code to ban the widely discredited practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity using psychological or spiritual interventions.”
Last week, Sloan hosted doctors and scientists at a Parliament Hill press conference to raise concerns over medical censorship. In only two days, the event became the most-watched video in CPAC's history.
“My job is to be the voice of Canadians”, said Sloan, before turning over to his guest speakers. “Today, I want allow people to tell their story in their own words.”
Jose Ruba of Free To Care spoke first, calling the bill “draconian” because Canada is “one of the few jurisdictions in the world that actually bans behavioral counselling, independent of counselling, whether or not that counselling changes someone's orientation.” Ruba then introduced Ricardo Fortune, who would be available to answer questions in French.
Dr. Ann Gillies of Restoring the Mosaic spoke next. “I want counsellors to be able to help their clients. The government will throw people like me in jail if Bill C-6 becomes law,” she said.
“Counselling to simply reduce unwanted sexual behaviour is going to be criminalized, and this means LGBTQ Canadians would be prevented support”, noting that Canadians currently receive counselling for “intrusive sexual thoughts and fantasies, such as undesired sexual thought patterns, intruding in the classroom, workplace, or [family] gatherings,” as well as assistance in reducing the use of pornography and remaining faithful to a partner.
If the bill passes, said Dr. Gillies, these supports would only be available to non-LGBTQ Canadians.
Retired clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Haynes spoke next with a focus on marriage, family and orthodox religious beliefs, stating that the bill will even send “gay-affirming therapists to prison”.
According to Dr. Haynes, research has found that “religious, same-sex attracted men who are married to women, nearly all of whom had children, on average three children each, successfully decreased both same-sex attraction and behaviour,” adding that therapy can “significantly” decrease suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Next, a Lethbridge-area mother named Colette Aikema added her story, stating that she wishes the government would end “torture and abuse” towards LGBTQ Canadians. “When I was a teenager, I was gang-raped, and became addicted to hardcore pornography”, saying that because she was able to seek therapy to reduce her non-heterosexual attractions and behaviors, “is defined as conversion therapy in Bill C-6”. “I despair of the day that I need this care again, and I will be unable to find it, because Bill C-6 has criminalized it,” explained Aikema, who then went on to criticize the Liberal's exemptions to the Bill. “My interest in therapy was not to explore my sexually distressing feelings, I knew where they came from — instead, I needed [help].”
Jeremy Williamson spoke next on his experience as a Canadian born with a genetic defect that affected the outward development of his genitalia, a defect in the category “with many variations known as intersex”.
“It astounds me that ignorant and uneducated politicians think that it is their right to prevent sound medical and scientific knowledge, force parents and professionals to choose between their freedom and the honest and proper diagnosis of my condition. If gender is a social construct we can choose at will, then this would be fine,” said Williamson. “God save intersex people from LGBTQ+ sycophants in government — who dropped the 'I' as soon as they were done using us.”
A woman named Renee spoke next on her experience receiving counselling as a minor under the age of sexual consent, which would be criminalized under Bill C-6. “I hated myself, and I hated being born female, and I desperately needed someone to talk to.”
Emmanuel Sanchez was the last up to speak on his experience with same-sex attraction and how bullying and self-hate made his suicidal as a young boy, and how a counsellor affirmed his identity and encouraged his choices.
“However, I still felt very unsettled”, said Sanchez, who said he then turned to a pastor at a church for the support he wanted, adding that the pastor neither affirmed or condemned his identity.
The third reading of Bill C-6 will be held this afternoon.