Conversion therapy is officially banned across the country.
Bill C-6 was passed on Tuesday at Canada’s House of Commons which now makes it a crime for anyone to try and force someone to change their sexual orientation.
This practice has mainly targeted the LGBTQ2+ community.
Mitchell Bowers, Committee Chair for Pride YMM, tells Mix News this is just one step needed before they’re truly treated equally.
“We need to see equitable healthcare for transgender people, we need to see the blood ban be lifted… there’s still more work to do.”
In early 2020, Wood Buffalo council approved a bylaw which prohibited the licensing, practice, and promotion of conversion therapy.
Bowers says too many people, even some in Wood Buffalo, don’t understand this controversial practice continues to be a problem.
“It’s something that’s always been done quietly behind closed doors and isn’t widely known about or talked about, but it does happen all over the place. Just because you don’t know anyone who’s had it happened to them personally doesn’t mean that its not.”
He adds he’s seen studies which have cited individuals from Fort McMurray who were forced to take part.
Meanwhile, 63 MPs from across the country voted against the bill. This includes David Yurdiga, MP for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake.
Mix News has reached out to Yurdiga and his team but have yet to receive a response.
However, Bowers says he was given a statement which noted Yurdiga believed the bill was too ‘ambiguous’ and that he’s always opposed the practice.
Bowers is finding it tough to accept the explanation.
“I can not find a single instance where he’s spoken out against conversion therapy, I can’t find a single instance where he’s spoken in support of the LGBT community, he has never reached out to Pride YMM to take part in our events, to be a visible support in our community.”
He’s encouraging Yurdiga to reach out to Pride YMM to start a dialogue with the local LGBTQ2+ community.