26 delegations speak on conversion therapy to Regina committee
REGINA -- Regina’s Community Wellness Committee heard from the second half of delegations scheduled to speak about the City’s next steps to address conversion therapy.
The first half of the meeting took place on Wednesday, and it continued on Monday.
A recommendation put before the committee said mayor Sandra Masters should write to the federal government on behalf of the city in support of Bill C-6.
Bill C-6 would criminalize aspects of conversion therapy, which the City describes as “a practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to repress non-heterosexual attraction or behaviours, or to change an individual’s gender identity to match the sex they were assigned at birth.”
At last Wednesday’s meeting, 26 delegations were scheduled to address the committee but due to time constraints only 16 presented. The remaining 10 presented on Monday morning.
The viewpoints of delegations were split. Some are in favour of the city supporting the federal bill, others would like to see the city enact its own bylaw against conversion therapy, while some delegations feel Bill C-6 would limit therapy options for LGBTQ2S+ people.
Delegations include church leaders, LGBT2QS+ groups, individuals, social workers and more.
Dr. Kristopher Wells, a Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual & Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University, said conversion therapy is not therapy at all.
“[It] best can be described as a form of psychological torture. Significant research has shown that conversion therapy efforts can lead to self loathing, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide ideation,” Wells said. “There is no credible scientific research anywhere in the world that supports the practice or efficacy on conversion therapy.”
Kent Peterson, who spoke representing Queen City For All, is in support of the city implementing its own ban.
“A conversion therapy ban would send a powerful message to queer and trans young people: that they are worth saving, that they should not be subjected to violence and abuse, that our locally elected leaders value them and that they are welcome here,” Peterson said.
Teresa Pierre, the president of Parents As First Educators, encouraged the city not to support the bill.
“Bill C-6 would mean parents could seek counselling for their child with gender dysphoria only if the therapy would help the child transition to a new gender, but not if the therapy helps the child accept their own biological sex,” Pierre said.
The Community Wellness Committee will debate the matter following the delegations’ presentation on Monday.