Manitoba moves to stamp out sexual orientation ‘conversion’ attempts

WINNIPEG – The province is taking steps to ensure “conversion therapy” – attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation – isn’t being practiced in Manitoba’s health-care system.

Conversion or reparative therapy are the terms used by those who believe it’s possible to change people’s sexual orientation. Homosexual and transgender Canadians in other jurisdictions have reported undergoing counselling attempts by doctors to change their sexual orientation.

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“Overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practised on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate, and can cause substantial harm,” Manitoba Health Minister Sharon Blady said in a news release. “It is the position of the Manitoba government that conversion therapy can have no place in the province’s public health-care system.”

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Regional health authorities and health-profession colleges and associations have been asked to:

  • ensure health professionals employed by or providing health services on behalf of the health authorities are not practising conversion therapy, particularly with children;
  • review professional codes of ethics and standards of practice to ensure it’s not condoned or accepted as legitimate, particularly for children; and
  • encourage those who may receive such treatment from a regulated health-care professional to file a complaint with the practitioner’s college or association.

The Manitoba Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

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CORRECTION: Ontario New Democrat Cheri DiNovo said transgender patient Erika Muse’s doctor billed that province for therapy. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated DiNovo was the patient subject to conversion therapy.

© 2015 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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