A Canadian law banning so-called conversion therapy is poised to go into effect on Friday, making it a crime to provide or promote services intended to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression.
With the new law, Canada’s criminal code will prohibit forcing someone to undergo conversion therapy; taking a minor abroad to take part; and profiting from, promoting or advertising the practice.
Violations can draw sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment. “This is an incredibly important step to making sure queer and trans people in Canada feel valid and deserving of full protection,” said Michael Kwag, a policy director at the Community-Based Research Center in Toronto, which researches the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders. “It also sends a strong message to the entire country that any attempt to change, deny or suppress the identity of queer and trans people is wrong,” he said in an interview.