Ending Conversion Therapy: Next Steps
Through the fall of 2019, we ran a crowdfunding campaign to support survivors of conversion therapy. We talked about it a lot. The campaign officially ended on December 31, and we’re so pleased to report that over $5,100 was raised to support this important health and social issue!
Update as of February 2020: Thanks to the generosity of 100 Gay Men for a Cause who donated $5,000 towards this work, we have now raised over $10,000 in support of this campaign!
Participants from the 2019 Dialogue Event in Vancouver
People from across Canada and the US generously gave because they believe in supporting survivors, taking political action to end conversion therapy, and investing in health research that’ll save lives. To each and every individual who made a gift and shared our campaign, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your generosity will truly make a difference in the lives of conversion therapy survivors, and the health of our population.
Seeing change at the federal level
On December 13th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided a mandate letter to David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General that included direction to change the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy. This is the political will and action that has been central to this work. The change is not immediate though, nor is it guaranteed. There’s still work to be done to see it through. One of the most important things for us now, as we prepare for the federal bill, is to continue to voice to our elected officials that this is an important issue.
Call, write to, or visit your MP and MLA to tell them that this matters, that you’re watching, and that want to ensure that all levels of government hold these practices to account. Federal direction a fantastic start to change, but we can’t become complacent in our advocacy. Continue to speak out publicly about why sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts must not be accepted in Canada.
[See below for information on contacting elected officials]
Research that makes a difference in everyday lives
The research component of this work is being led by Dr Travis Salway. In November 2019, Dr Salway and collaborators brought together survivors, researchers, policy advocates, and community leaders in a dialogue event to launch this work. He and his team have been working since then to develop a report on what came out of that dialogue meeting.
Workshop notes from the 2019 Dialogue Event
That report will be released in early 2020 and sets the stage for additional short-term research projects by framing the questions that need answering. Questions like: where and how is conversion therapy happening in Canada, and to who; what social and health supports do survivors need; and, in areas where legislative bans are in place, how effective are they? In order to change the problem we have to first understand it from every angle. That is what this next phase of research is setting out to do. This is what our donors and supporters are making possible.
Our coalition of survivors, community leaders, researchers, and providers are enormously grateful to the BCCDC Foundation for their support in bringing together a big group of passionate change-makers for a first-of-its-kind event. The Dialogue allowed us to coalesce a number of ideas, reflections, and questions about SOGIECE that are critical to bringing an end to these harmful practices.
– Dr Travis Salway
We’re grateful to have been a part of this incredible work. Though our campaign is officially over, the Foundation will continue to support Dr Salway, survivors, and other partners in this journey. We hope you’ll continue to follow along and be involved, too. Great change is possible when we work together, and we’re so grateful to be able to work alongside so many amazing people fighting for this change.
Update: the report entitled “Ending conversion therapy in Canada: Survivors, community leaders, researchers, and allies address the current and future states of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts” can be found here.