September 13, 2018 6:56 pm

LGBTQ advocates cheer NDP bill aimed at banning conversion therapy in Alberta

Alberta LGBTQ advocates are elated following news the provincial government could be putting an end to conversion therapy. As Kyle Benning reports, ending the practice in Alberta is just the latest step in one Lethbridge group's ultimate goal of a federal ban.

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LGBTQ supporters in southern Alberta are pleased with an Edmonton-area MLA’s decision to put forward a private members bill aimed at banning gay conversion therapy across the province.

The Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group said after several years of work, they’re glad the government is moving forward on this issue.

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“A win is a win. And the fact that the government is moving forward on this makes every long night, every interview, every horror story – everything worth it knowing that Alberta is going to stand up to protect the people I consider my family,” coordinator Jen Takahashi said.

Conversion therapy is described by the Canadian Psychological Association as a practice with the goal of repairing or converting an individual’s sexual orientation.

READ MORE: Vancouver city council unanimously moves to ban conversion therapy

The association opposes these kinds of practices and noted research does not support its effectiveness. It said the therapy can result in a number of negative outcomes such as distress, depression and a feeling of personal failure.

Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillps is still waiting to see the specifics but said she supports the overall idea of the bill.

“This is one of those things that doesn’t cost money, but has a profound effect on our communities and making sure, once again, that we are ensuring safe and inclusive communities just as we have ensured safe and inclusive schools,” Phillips said.

Ontario became the first province to ban conversion therapy in 2015 and Nova Scotia introduced a similar bill earlier this week.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s Liberal government to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth 

Takahashi and LGBTQ advocates are hoping an Alberta ban will help spur the trend across the country.

“If we can get Alberta, which has its history of being conservative, [if] we can get them to take a stand against conversion therapy, we will have that weight behind us to push the federal government as well,”

The bill is expected to be introduced in the legislature this fall.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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