SOGIECE refers to a broad set of treatments, practices, or sustained efforts that aim to repress, discourage, or change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. These efforts impact many members of the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community, particularly youth who may be questioning their orientation or identity.
Municipal Bans in Canada
As of July 1, 2021, 18 municipalities across Canada have enacted bylaws or policy statements banning or condemning “conversion therapy” (CT). The federal government voted on Bill C-6, An act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy) on June 22, 2021. Although 62 Conservative MPs and 1 Independent MP voted against the bill, it passed and was sent to the Senate.
Bill C-6 Opposition
The opposition to Bill C-6 was predominantly organized by the Catholic Church and extreme right-wing religious organizations. The talking points used by those who voted against the bill are aligned with the materials used by these lobby groups.
CT is just one form of conversion efforts. Many faith-based organizations, although they claim to not approve of certain conversion practices, still want the freedom to “pray the gay away”. They teach that being 2S-LGBTQIA+ is sinful and that a valid marriage is only between a biological man and woman.
Kelowna Task Force
The idea for a community task force to address the issues around conversion efforts in Kelowna was formed by advocacy-canada.lgbt founder Wilbur Turner. He presented the idea to the board of Kelowna Pride Society at a meeting on June 22, 2021, and requested the support of the society. The board voted unanimously in favour of supporting the task force.
The Kelowna task force swung into action with their first virtual meeting on July 15, 2021. The task force will be looking at taking action on the following items:
- Engaging in action to support a federal law on conversion efforts
- Campaigning to support the BC Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act
- Creating recommendations for the queer community to engage with governments on conversion therapy issues
- Looking at ways to support survivors of conversion efforts, both past and present
- Collecting stories of survivors
- Implementing a way for community members to report current conversion efforts
- Working with the City of Kelowna to enact a local ban on CT
- Building a strategy to combat conversion efforts in the Okanagan