Therapist in Canada says bill before Parliament would prevent counselors from affirming patients who reject gender transition

by Laura Mize · Oct 29th, 2020 4:30 pm
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Last Updated Oct 30th, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Ann Gillies, a Canadian psychologist, says a bill before her nation's Parliament would ban therapists and parents from affirming people, including children, who consider but reject gender transitions.

The proposal, called Bill C-8 would ban conversion therapy, which it defines as any "service, practice or treatment designed to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual, gender identity to one that matches the sex assigned at birth, or to repress or reduce non heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviors."

Gillies says this definition of conversion therapy differs from that used by the Canadian Psychological Association. The phrase "repress or reduce non heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviors" does not reflect the CPA's definition.

Gillies says this additional language would likely make it illegal to affirm people who seek counseling and decide not to transition to another gender or decide to remain celibate.

A press release on Gillies's website includes video footage from therapy sessions that she says would be illegal if Bill C-8 becomes law. In the sessions, a girl identified as "Rachel" talks about her own decision not to pursue a gender transition, despite considering such a transition at one time. At 12, Rachel began dressing and acting like a boy at school. She says she began to consider a physical transition under pressure from teachers and peers. But she experienced rejection when she decided not to go through with it.

"When you come out as transgender, everyone is so accepting. But when you come out as cis, everyone turns their back on you," Rachel said in one of the videos.

Cisgender is a term used for people who identify as the gender they were born as.

During these sessions, Gillies encourages Rachel, whose face is blurred out in the videos, to accept herself as a female.

"We need to support Canadians, regardless of how they choose to identify," Gillies said in the press release. "This law discriminates against 'Rachel,' preventing people like her from choosing their support."


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