Justin Trudeau said Ottawa would ban conversion therapy. Cities across Canada aren’t waiting for him to keep that promise

Warning: Story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers. Ben Rodgers said he was told by his former church that “if I want my family to love me again and be a normal person in society,” he had to do what it said. What that involved would have a traumatic impact on Rodgers, who was just 19 at the time. “I was being ‘mentored’ and taught that the homosexual side of me was wrong, and that I had let the enemy get his demons of lust and homosexuality in me, and that they knew how to fix that,” Rodgers, now 36, said in an interview, at times becoming emotional. He said he had to undergo a three-day dry fast — no food or liquids — and then had to stand at the front of the church, where he said the pastor, his wife and others started praying, “yelling in tongues, casting out these demons.” “I remember literally the feeling of their hands pressing on my head and my shoulders and one of them had their hand on my chest,” Rodgers said. “I remember something coming over me that day, but it was probably more fear and submission than any greater power.” Rodgers is now a vocal advocate for banning so-called “conversion therapy” — the widely discredited practice of attempting to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ2S individuals to heterosexual, or to coerce those questioning their gender identities to be in alignment with the sex assigned to them at birth.He has been speaking publicly since last year about his own experience with conversion therapy, and has established a support group for survivors called CT Survivors Connect. Rodgers is also working closely with the city of Kingston on a bylaw that would ban the provision of conversion therapy.Kingston is one of the latest in a string of municipalities across Canada that have taken it upon themselves to ban conversion therapy using the powers available to municipal governments. The municipalities’ bans typically take the form of a bylaw prohibiting businesses — which can be loosely defined to include individuals and non-profits — from providing conversion therapy. Some bylaws also include a ban on advertising the practice, while others also prevent city facilities and resources from being used for it. Failure to comply with the bylaws can come with hefty fines of up to $10,000 for individuals. There’s been “a wave happening across the country” since 2018, when Vancouver became the first Canadian city to ban the provision of conversion therapy, said Kristopher Wells, Canada research chair for the public understanding of sexual and gender minority youth at MacEwan University.Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon have followed, along with a number of smaller communities, largely in western Canada. Wells has worked with many of them on their bylaws, whose bans also generally apply to churches and non-profits, he said. Thunder Bay got the ball rolling on a potential bylaw this week following a vote at council, while Regina is expected to implement one in about two weeks.If Kingston’s bylaw passes this year, that city will become the first municipality in Ontario to enact a ban on conversion therapy. This wave also comes as the Liberal government’s Bill C-6 — which would criminalize the provision of conversion therapy in some but not all circumstances — is stuck in the Senate. The bill will die if a federal election is called before Parliament resumes, as is widely expected. “I think for many municipalities, this is about moving beyond just raising Pride flags and painting rainbow crosswalks, to actually addressing some of the structural change that’s needed in terms of policies that actively protect and support the LGBTQ community,” Wells said. “I think for many municipalities the first question that comes up is, is this within their jurisdictional powers? And clearly we have seen, yes, that is the case.” A recent survey of more than 9,000 Canadian sexual- and gender- minority men, including non-binary individuals, found that 10 per cent reported experiencing conversion therapy. The results of the survey by the Community-Based Research Centre in British Columbia were published last month in the scientific journal PLOS One.Kingston’s city council passed a motion in January that, among other things, directs staff to come up with a bylaw by the end of September that would ban conversion therapy, as well as develop a “support system” for LGBTQ2S members of the community. Councillor Bridget Doherty, who tabled the motion, credits Rodgers for drawing awareness to the issue by speaking up publicly last year about his experience. She said her initial motion called for a ban, but staff suggested that a motion denouncing the practice and publicly supporting Bill C-6 would be more feasible. But the ban was added again to the motion at council in January and passed. Doherty’s advice for other municipalities considering similar action? “Go strong. Don’t shy away from advocating for a ban,” she said. “The motion should be a ban, but it should also, very importantly, include a saf

Justin Trudeau said Ottawa would ban conversion therapy. Cities across Canada aren’t waiting for him to keep that promise

Warning: Story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers.

Ben Rodgers said he was told by his former church that “if I want my family to love me again and be a normal person in society,” he had to do what it said.

What that involved would have a traumatic impact on Rodgers, who was just 19 at the time.

“I was being ‘mentored’ and taught that the homosexual side of me was wrong, and that I had let the enemy get his demons of lust and homosexuality in me, and that they knew how to fix that,” Rodgers, now 36, said in an interview, at times becoming emotional.

He said he had to undergo a three-day dry fast — no food or liquids — and then had to stand at the front of the church, where he said the pastor, his wife and others started praying, “yelling in tongues, casting out these demons.”

“I remember literally the feeling of their hands pressing on my head and my shoulders and one of them had their hand on my chest,” Rodgers said.

“I remember something coming over me that day, but it was probably more fear and submission than any greater power.”

Rodgers is now a vocal advocate for banning so-called “conversion therapy” — the widely discredited practice of attempting to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ2S individuals to heterosexual, or to coerce those questioning their gender identities to be in alignment with the sex assigned to them at birth.

He has been speaking publicly since last year about his own experience with conversion therapy, and has established a support group for survivors called CT Survivors Connect.

Rodgers is also working closely with the city of Kingston on a bylaw that would ban the provision of conversion therapy.

Kingston is one of the latest in a string of municipalities across Canada that have taken it upon themselves to ban conversion therapy using the powers available to municipal governments.

The municipalities’ bans typically take the form of a bylaw prohibiting businesses — which can be loosely defined to include individuals and non-profits — from providing conversion therapy.

Some bylaws also include a ban on advertising the practice, while others also prevent city facilities and resources from being used for it. Failure to comply with the bylaws can come with hefty fines of up to $10,000 for individuals.

There’s been “a wave happening across the country” since 2018, when Vancouver became the first Canadian city to ban the provision of conversion therapy, said Kristopher Wells, Canada research chair for the public understanding of sexual and gender minority youth at MacEwan University.

Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon have followed, along with a number of smaller communities, largely in western Canada. Wells has worked with many of them on their bylaws, whose bans also generally apply to churches and non-profits, he said.

Thunder Bay got the ball rolling on a potential bylaw this week following a vote at council, while Regina is expected to implement one in about two weeks.

If Kingston’s bylaw passes this year, that city will become the first municipality in Ontario to enact a ban on conversion therapy.

This wave also comes as the Liberal government’s Bill C-6 — which would criminalize the provision of conversion therapy in some but not all circumstances — is stuck in the Senate. The bill will die if a federal election is called before Parliament resumes, as is widely expected.

“I think for many municipalities, this is about moving beyond just raising Pride flags and painting rainbow crosswalks, to actually addressing some of the structural change that’s needed in terms of policies that actively protect and support the LGBTQ community,” Wells said.

“I think for many municipalities the first question that comes up is, is this within their jurisdictional powers? And clearly we have seen, yes, that is the case.”

A recent survey of more than 9,000 Canadian sexual- and gender- minority men, including non-binary individuals, found that 10 per cent reported experiencing conversion therapy. The results of the survey by the Community-Based Research Centre in British Columbia were published last month in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Kingston’s city council passed a motion in January that, among other things, directs staff to come up with a bylaw by the end of September that would ban conversion therapy, as well as develop a “support system” for LGBTQ2S members of the community.

Councillor Bridget Doherty, who tabled the motion, credits Rodgers for drawing awareness to the issue by speaking up publicly last year about his experience.

She said her initial motion called for a ban, but staff suggested that a motion denouncing the practice and publicly supporting Bill C-6 would be more feasible. But the ban was added again to the motion at council in January and passed.

Doherty’s advice for other municipalities considering similar action?

“Go strong. Don’t shy away from advocating for a ban,” she said. “The motion should be a ban, but it should also, very importantly, include a safe support system for the LGBTQ community so that they have a safe place to report any such action.”

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said “it was a bit of a bumpy road” to get to her city’s bylaw, which is expected to be passed in early August, noting that much of the vocal opposition at heated meetings came from groups outside the city.

“We did hear that ‘you have no business doing this, not within your purview,’ but I think it is a municipality’s job. We are the level of government closest to the people, and it’s our job to bring forward policies that promote safety and well-being for all members of our community,” Masters said in an interview.

“At the end of the day, it’s the voices of the LGBTQ2S community who ultimately had the graciousness to guide us, and we came out on the other side of it.”

Legislation from the various levels of government complement each other and are all necessary in eradicating conversion therapy, advocates say.

While the bylaws prevent businesses from providing — and in some cases advertising — conversion therapy, the federal legislation would criminalize the practice. And Ontario has a provincial law that prevents health-care professionals from providing conversion therapy to minors against their will, and removes the ability to bill OHIP for the practice.

The very existence of the bylaws serves as a deterrent to peddlers of conversion therapy, and it sends an important symbolic message of support to LGBTQ2S community members, said Nick Schiavo, founder of No Conversion Canada, which has tracked the municipalities’ progress.

“I just think municipalities are better designed to serve the immediate needs of survivors and victims who are going through that experience,” he said.

“A criminal case is potentially one way to achieve justice, but it’s a long process, can be very traumatic, and sometimes it just takes having a business licence revoked, a fine applied, and letting that survivor access those resources in their community.”

Bill C-6 would criminalize the provision of conversion therapy to minors, but when it comes to adults, it would only make it a crime to provide conversion therapy if it’s against their will. Advocates say you can’t consent to “torture and fraud” and therefore the bill has a loophole.

Wells said the “silver lining” of the bill likely dying is that it could hopefully come back in the fall as a stronger piece of legislation based on the premise of the municipalities’ bylaws — that conversion therapy should be illegal regardless of consent and to whom it’s provided.

Rodgers says he’s been on a Zoom call almost every other week with Kingston city staff as they draft the proposed bylaw. He said he can’t reveal much, but said “It’s leaning in all the right directions.”

He hopes Kingston’s efforts will lead to a ripple effect across Ontario, and he plans to address other councils and mayors on implementing similar bans, including Ottawa and Toronto.

“One of the key things I really want to say to any survivor, anyone going through this, is that there’s hope on the other side,” he said.

“You might not feel like there’s any other direction to go, but you always have the capability to choose to be yourself.”

Jacques Gallant is a Toronto-based reporter covering politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @JacquesGallant

Source : Toronto Star More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Swimmers Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck up soon in medal race; Women’s soccer team facing U.S. in semifinals; Nigerian sprinter suspended for positive HGH test

The latest Olympics news from Tokyo and around the world on Friday. Web links to longer stories if available:8:47 p.m.: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Marco Arop is competing in the Heat 2. Brandon McBride is competing in Heat 3.Also in the Olympic Athletics category: Women's 100: Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto (11.18 seconds) and Khamica Bingham, Brampton, Ont. (11.21), were 19th and 21st in qualifying round. Both will advance to the second round.Women's 5,000: Andrea Seccafien, Guelph, Ont., was the 15th-fastest in qualifying (14:59.55) and will race in the final.8:30 p.m.: Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unity after an out-of-competition test came back positive for human growth hormone.Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was set to run in the women’s 100-meter semifinal. The drug test sample was analyzed in a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and when the positive test was discovered, the AIU was notified.8:12 p.m.: The latest scores in the Olympic Athletics category: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Sage Watson qualifies after coming in fourth place with a time 55.54. In the second round, Canadian Noelle Montcalm came in sixth with a time of 55.85.8:12 p.m.: In the Olympic triathalon mixed team event, Canadians Joanna Brown, Alexis Lepage, Amelie Kretz and Matthew Sharpe came in 15th with a time of 1:27:21.8:08 p.m.: The U.S. women’s soccer team has defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the Olympic semifinals. 8 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded a state of emergency to areas surrounding Tokyo and extended it to the end of August, in the face of a record virus surge unfolding as his country hosts the Olympics.The expansion comes after three straight days of record COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and as national daily infection figures soared over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began about 18 months ago. Tokyo on Friday posted 3,300 new cases.7:15 p.m.: As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s top distance runner Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company. Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres.In the end, Ethiopian Selemon Barega’s final-lap surge won him the gold medal. Cheptegei settled for silver, and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo took bronze. Ahmed faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.The latest from Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead5:44 p.m.: Penny Oleksiak isn’t letting a finish off the podium in the women’s 100-metre freestyle get her down.The 21-year-old swimmer set a Canadian record by swimming a personal-best 52.29 seconds in the event on Friday morning in Tokyo — 0.41 seconds faster than her gold-medal time in Rio five years ago. Also in Laura Armstrong’s Olympics roundup: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling cheers on her partner, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé; American swimmer Michael Andrew refuses to wear his mask in the mixed zone after the men’s 200-metre individual medley. Also, South Korean archer An San was targeted by online trolls for her haircut — and thousands stood up for her. 5:35 p.m.: Felicia Stancil of Lake Villa, Ill., finished fourth in the women’s BMX race Friday, narrowly missing a medal following her training partner’s terrifying crash.After falling behind at the start of the final, Stancil made up ground throughout the 400-meter course, but ultimately could not catch the leaders. Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever won gold, followed by silver medallist Mariana Pajon of Columbia and third-place finisher Merel Smulders of the Netherlands.5 p.m.: It is a tall task ahead for Canada’s basketball women at the Olympics, but you have to beat great teams to be a great team and they are aware of the challenge ahead — and of the significance of the game.Canada faces Spain in its final opening-round game in Tokyo on Sunday morning (9 p.m. ET, Saturday) and its dreams of winning an Olympic medal may be on the line. A win would virtually assure the Canadian women, 1-1, a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The latest from Doug Smith: Canada’s surest route to the Olympic basketball quarterfinals is with a win over third-ranked Spain2:50 p.m.: On today’s episode of Tokyo Daily, Brendan Dunlop recaps Canada’s nail biting penalty kick shootout win over Brazil in women’s soccer with the Toronto Star’s Laura Armstrong. Canadian women continue to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a gold in rowing, while Penny Oleksiak and Rosie MacLennan just miss the podium.Watch the latest Tokyo Daily here: Pitch perfect — Canadian women’s soccer team keeps golden dreams alive2 p.m.: It’s alwa

Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Swimmers Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck up soon in medal race; Women’s soccer team facing U.S. in semifinals; Nigerian sprinter suspended for positive HGH test

The latest Olympics news from Tokyo and around the world on Friday. Web links to longer stories if available:

8:47 p.m.: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Marco Arop is competing in the Heat 2. Brandon McBride is competing in Heat 3.

Also in the Olympic Athletics category:

Women's 100: Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto (11.18 seconds) and Khamica Bingham, Brampton, Ont. (11.21), were 19th and 21st in qualifying round. Both will advance to the second round.

Women's 5,000: Andrea Seccafien, Guelph, Ont., was the 15th-fastest in qualifying (14:59.55) and will race in the final.

8:30 p.m.: Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unity after an out-of-competition test came back positive for human growth hormone.

Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was set to run in the women’s 100-meter semifinal. The drug test sample was analyzed in a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and when the positive test was discovered, the AIU was notified.

8:12 p.m.: The latest scores in the Olympic Athletics category:

In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Sage Watson qualifies after coming in fourth place with a time 55.54.

In the second round, Canadian Noelle Montcalm came in sixth with a time of 55.85.

8:12 p.m.: In the Olympic triathalon mixed team event, Canadians Joanna Brown, Alexis Lepage, Amelie Kretz and Matthew Sharpe came in 15th with a time of 1:27:21.

8:08 p.m.: The U.S. women’s soccer team has defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the Olympic semifinals.

8 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded a state of emergency to areas surrounding Tokyo and extended it to the end of August, in the face of a record virus surge unfolding as his country hosts the Olympics.

The expansion comes after three straight days of record COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and as national daily infection figures soared over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began about 18 months ago. Tokyo on Friday posted 3,300 new cases.

7:15 p.m.: As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s top distance runner Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company. Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres.

In the end, Ethiopian Selemon Barega’s final-lap surge won him the gold medal. Cheptegei settled for silver, and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo took bronze. Ahmed faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.

The latest from Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead

5:44 p.m.: Penny Oleksiak isn’t letting a finish off the podium in the women’s 100-metre freestyle get her down.

The 21-year-old swimmer set a Canadian record by swimming a personal-best 52.29 seconds in the event on Friday morning in Tokyo — 0.41 seconds faster than her gold-medal time in Rio five years ago.

Also in Laura Armstrong’s Olympics roundup: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling cheers on her partner, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé; American swimmer Michael Andrew refuses to wear his mask in the mixed zone after the men’s 200-metre individual medley. Also, South Korean archer An San was targeted by online trolls for her haircut — and thousands stood up for her.

5:35 p.m.: Felicia Stancil of Lake Villa, Ill., finished fourth in the women’s BMX race Friday, narrowly missing a medal following her training partner’s terrifying crash.

After falling behind at the start of the final, Stancil made up ground throughout the 400-meter course, but ultimately could not catch the leaders. Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever won gold, followed by silver medallist Mariana Pajon of Columbia and third-place finisher Merel Smulders of the Netherlands.

5 p.m.: It is a tall task ahead for Canada’s basketball women at the Olympics, but you have to beat great teams to be a great team and they are aware of the challenge ahead — and of the significance of the game.

Canada faces Spain in its final opening-round game in Tokyo on Sunday morning (9 p.m. ET, Saturday) and its dreams of winning an Olympic medal may be on the line. A win would virtually assure the Canadian women, 1-1, a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

The latest from Doug Smith: Canada’s surest route to the Olympic basketball quarterfinals is with a win over third-ranked Spain

2:50 p.m.: On today’s episode of Tokyo Daily, Brendan Dunlop recaps Canada’s nail biting penalty kick shootout win over Brazil in women’s soccer with the Toronto Star’s Laura Armstrong. Canadian women continue to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a gold in rowing, while Penny Oleksiak and Rosie MacLennan just miss the podium.

Watch the latest Tokyo Daily here: Pitch perfect — Canadian women’s soccer team keeps golden dreams alive

2 p.m.: It’s always disappointing to have your Olympic journey end, but it must have been especially frustrating for Australia’s Aron Baynes, who was injured on the court before slipping in the bathroom.

Baynes, who also plays for the Raptors, will miss the rest of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament after sustaining a neck injury in what team doctor David Hughes called “a complicated series of events.” ​​

1:30 p.m.: Veteran soccer captain Christine Sinclair missed a crucial penalty against Brazil, but her team came through and the script flipped: Instead of Sinclair trying to carry Canada, Canada carried Sinclair, writes Bruce Arthur.

Next up for women’s soccer: Canada will take on the United States in the semifinals.

The latest from Bruce Arthur in Tokyo: Canadian women’s soccer team returns Olympic favour to captain Christine Sinclair

1 p.m.: Rugby Canada fired Jamie Cudmore, a former star player in charge of developing the next generation of talent, on Friday for a series of social media posts belittling the women’s sevens team.

His posts took aim at the sevens squad for its disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

Previously: Canada beats Brazil in women’s soccer, will face U.S. next; Canadian runner Mohammed Ahmed finished sixth in the men’s 10,000-metre; Rosie MacLennan fourth in trampoline; women’s eight rowers win first gold since 1992; Canada advances to finals in women’s 4 x 100 m medley relay.

For a full write-up of what you missed on Day 7 of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

For full coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

Source : Toronto Star More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.