Conversion Therapy BILL M 218–2019 (British Columbia)
A PUBLIC PETITION
CONCERNING BILL M 218–2019 (British Columbia)
SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY PROTECTION ACT
We, the undersigned, believe that the Bill pertaining to what is often called “conversion” or “reparative therapy” that is currently before the BC Legislature (Bill M 218–2019) is not clearly drafted and, if passed, may well lead to significant, unwarranted intrusions by the state into the lives of medical professionals (including counselors), religious leaders, teachers, parents, and indeed minors themselves. We respectfully request that this Bill should not be called or passed unless and until the various problems identified on the “Concerned Citizens of BC” website (concerned.ca) have been addressed. Specifically,we endorse the following proposals:
- The innately confusing terminology of “conversion therapy” should be avoided. Instead, the Bill should specify the particular practices that it seeks to ban, and provide reasons for doing so.
- A consent clause should be inserted so that minors do not have less freedom to consent to counseling about any aspect of sex and gender than to “a gender-confirming surgery or any related service.”
- The “exceptions clauses” (under “Definitions” ) should be expanded to make it explicitly clear that the legislation is not intended to interfere with:
- the right of healthcare professionals, without threat to their reputation, licensing, or employment, to offer what they believe is their best counsel to, and treatment of, minors experiencing distress concerning their current sexual attractions or sense of gender identity;
- the right of parents, and other adults “in position[s] of trust or authority” to discuss with minors in a non-coercive manner the nature and significance of their current experiences of sexual attraction or gender identity, in line with those adults’ professional opinions, perceptions, and moral and/or religious worldview—without threat to their reputation or employment.