Green MLA, LGBTQ+ group calling for N.B. to ban conversion therapy
A Moncton-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group says it’s time New Brunswick becomes the fourth province in Canada to ban conversion therapy.
“Conversion therapy is a terrifying pseudoscientific process where people who tout themselves to be psychological professionals do a form of systematic discrimination by trying to convert people who are members of the Queer community into not being the people that they are inside,” says Brian Attfield, vice-president of River of Pride.
A flag-raising ceremony was held at town hall in Shediac Friday to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Attfield says there’s still a long road ahead to improve the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Upwards of greater than 40 per cent of people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community say that they have experienced homophobia, transphobia and biphobia,” Attfield says. “Especially in their workplaces.”
“You get a lot of people that, when you first come out and you’re transitioning, a lot of inappropriate comments are made,” says Hudson Stockford, who attended the flag-raising ceremony. “They’re not necessarily intentional, I would never blame the people, it’s just a lack of knowledge.”
WATCH: Nova Scotia’s Liberal government to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth
Megan Mitton, the Green Party MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar, is also hoping New Brunswick will take a stand on conversion therapy.
“It absolutely needs to be a priority that we protect people in the LGBTQ community,” she told Global News Friday.
Meanwhile, Dominic Cardy, the province’s education minister, says the practice is non-existent in New Brunswick.
“I think there were some procedural issues around the motion (Friday) in terms of restricting something that doesn’t exist,” Cardy said. “But I’m glad it doesn’t exist and I know that this government would stand up against any efforts to introduce conversion therapy in the province, or certainly make it any part of our health-care system because it’s not health care.”
Nova Scotia passed a ban on conversion therapy with youth in September, joining Manitoba and Ontario, where forms of ban are also in place.
An online petition for the federal government created last fall garnered over 18,000 signatures across Canada.
A response to the petition stated the practice is “immoral, painful and do not reflect the values of our government or those of Canadians,” but that any action would fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction.
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