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Alberta’s dismantled conversion therapy working group leading Calgary Pride Parade

Thousands of people celebrate Calgary's Pride Parade. .
Thousands of people celebrate Calgary's Pride Parade. . File Photo / CalgaryPride.ca

Members of a now-dismantled conversion therapy working group will be serving as parade marshals at the 2019 Calgary Pride Parade.

The group was established by Alberta’s former NDP government to determine the most effective way to ban conversion therapy across the province.

Soon after taking power, Alberta’s UCP government put an end to the working group.

READ MORE: Banning conversion therapy: Alberta creates working group to make recommendations

On Wednesday, Calgary Pride announced members of the now-unfunded group would be leading the parade, saying they will serve as proof of the LGBTQ2S+ community’s “refusal to be silenced.”

“These individuals will lead the parade as a reminder that our voices carry weight, our community deserves to be heard, and that collectively we will not accept any practice that calls into question our inalienable right to exist,” a statement from Calgary Pride read.

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READ MORE: Calgary Pride calls for city ban on conversion therapy as Albertans rally outside legislature

Members of the conversion therapy working group that will be marching as this year’s parade marshals include Dr. Kevin Alderson, Glynnis Lieb (co-chair), Janis Irwin (alt-chair), MLA Nicole Goehring (co-chair), Gary Simpson and Junaid bin Jahangir.

“We started this work because Albertans told us they wanted a formal ban on conversion therapy and because it’s the right thing to do,” Goehring said in a news release.

“Albertans get it, many municipalities get it, and many other jurisdictions are moving forward with mechanisms to ban this harmful and abusive practice.”

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READ MORE: Email from Alberta health minister offers mixed message on conversion therapy group’s status

Conversion therapy was condemned by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) in 2015.

“Conversion or reparative therapy can result in negative outcomes such as distress, anxiety, depression, negative self-image, a feeling of personal failure, difficulty sustaining relationships, and sexual dysfunction,” the CPA said in a 2015 statement.

The 2019 Calgary Pride Parade runs from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1.