It's no secret that other countries often refer to Canada as the most "gay-friendly" place to be. With so much queer representation in the media and progressive social policy, it's hard to disagree.
TL;DR To the surprise of many, 'conversion therapy' for LGBTQ youth is still legal in certain areas of Canada. A petition set to be presented to the House of Commons has already attracted thousands of signatures, with a response as to whether or not the practice will be criminalized expected early 2019.
With our massive pride parades each year and as one of the first countries to completely legalize gay marriage, Canada certainly seems to be a safe place for LGBTQ individuals.
Well, for LGBTQ youth, it's not as safe as you probably thought.
It turns out, despite what rights and safety you may have thought the queer community had, 'conversion therapy' has not yet been banned by the federal government.
Yes, that means Canadian minors are being counselled and coerced to 'change' their sexual orientation or gender identity without practitioners facing any legal backlash.
You may be wondering "why?" or even "how is this possible?!" Well, although the "therapy" isn't what you imagine it to be in terms of physical torture (no one is getting lobotomies, thankfully) it's still horrifyingly outdated that the country has not yet made it a criminal offence, especially since we're almost in 2019.
In today's society, 'conversion therapy' is typically run by psychological and psychiatric practitoners as well as faith organizers. Youth are forced by parents or guardians to take part in "talk therapy" sessions in efforts to reverse their homosexuality or gender identity.
In short, this is seriously messed up. Luckily, there is hope that this practice could become a criminal offence.
An online petition urging the government to outlaw 'conversion therapy' in Canada, as well as prohibit the act of taking minors outside of the country for the same purpose, is currently circulating the internet.
With plans to present the petition to the House of Commons, organizers say over 2,500 signatures and counting will help push the ethical decision to make prison time a reality for anyone involved with the dark practice.
There is also talk of practitoners involved being stripped of their license, as well as punishments for parents and guardians who register their children. There's no word on whether or not this will become a Canadian law, but with the push of thousands against the secret practice it is defintiely possible.
The country-wide petition against 'conversion therapy' is open for signatures until January 18, 2019. After that, the federal government will be given 45 days to come up with a response.
We can only hope (and expect) that Canada's dirty little secret is finally washed away for good.
View and sign the petition here!