Calgary officially bans LGBT conversion therapy and the vote is unanimous
Calgary has officially banned LGBT conversion therapy after a vote on Monday, February 3.
The Government of Alberta defines conversion therapy as "any treatment, counselling, or behaviour modification that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression."
Calgary's vote to ban conversion therapy was unanimous.
Conversion therapy is an insidious practice, and your City Council has unanimously taken a stand against it.— Naheed Nenshi (@nenshi) February 3, 2020
Thanks @EWoolleyWard8, @DruhFarrell, @gccarra, @JyotiGondek and @peterdemong for bringing forward this motion.
No matter who you love, you belong here.
A rainbow-clad crowd at the council meeting burst into cheers and applause when the city announced the decision.
Over a hundred LGBTQ+ community members and supporters flooded the steps of city hall afterwards, cheerfully waving homemade signs and rainbow flags.
This is one for the history books, congratulations #YYC! Today we took a massive step on the journey to end conversion therapy. Every community leader, councillor, and letter writer should be proud. Together, WE did a thing! @cityofcalgary pic.twitter.com/TcZsiUJ2jm— Calgary Pride (@CalgaryPride) February 3, 2020
A group of protestors in support of conversion therapy were also among the crowd outside of city hall.
Their signs urged council members to "re-word" the motion.
Notably, the crowd in support of the vote greatly outnumbered the protestors.
They could really use some help with their signs. pic.twitter.com/qNQCRHxMOa— Dr. Kristopher Wells (@KristopherWells) February 3, 2020
Councillor Jeromy Farkas, who is openly bisexual, teared up as he recounted his own experience coming out.
According to the Calgary Herald, Farkas told the council, "When another person in authority, someone I trusted and admired, approached me and said that I could, more or less, pray the ‘me’ away, I felt humiliated."
"Some will say that this is virtue signalling, but is it worth it to send a signal about the kind of city we are and we want to be? Damn straight.”
#Calgary city counsel just unanimously voted to move forward to pass a ban on conversion therapy. Conversion therapy will be made illegal in Calgary. This is a huge win for human rights and the #LGBTQ community. #PowerToThePeople#LGBTQ2S #LGBTQ #LGBT #YYC #ConversionTherapy pic.twitter.com/ZUT0P123nZ— Chaz Smith (@ChazSmithYYC) February 3, 2020
As Farkas implied, the ban is largely symbolic at this point.
Unless the Canadian Federal government pass a law stating that conversion therapy is a criminal offence, Calgary won't be able to fully persecute law-breakers.
However, Calgary will draft a bylaw that enforces fines for anyone found offering the practice.
This is one important victory on the long road to justice. Today, Calgary City Council stood up for human rights and said not in our community. All are welcome. All are loved. #yyccc pic.twitter.com/Du9UKTMGks— Dr. Kristopher Wells (@KristopherWells) February 3, 2020
Alberta cities Edmonton and St. Albert have already banned the controversial practice.
In Vancouver — the first place in Canada to ban conversion therapy — the law has been in place for a year now.
Most Calgarians are thrilled to be joining the fight against conversion therapy.
This local radio host proudly showed her support.
I am so, so fucking proud to live in a city that UNANIMOUSLY voted to end conversion therapy. Such an important step in the never ending fight for our LGBTQ+ community.— Katie Summers (@katiessummerss) February 4, 2020
And this woman cried when she heard the news.
Thank you Sir and Councillors. You succeeded in making me very happy and making me cry. A good day— Hilary Chapple🏳️🌈🇨🇦 (@Limey157) February 3, 2020
This person proved that the Christian and LGBTQ+ communities can support one another.
As a Christian, I'm glad to hear that YYC council had banned the practice of conversion therapy in the city.— Colin Toffelmire (@colintoffelmire) February 3, 2020
And this woman celebrated with rainbow-coloured hearts.
The Liberal government rejected a public effort to ban conversion therapy on a federal level in March 2019.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to openly support the ban, calling conversion therapy a "scientifically discredited practice" that is harmful to everyone.
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