A day after a nine-hour special city council meeting in which conversion therapy was the sole topic of discussion, Regina’s LGBTQ2+ community is reacting to what was said and done.
Many of those delegates opposed the city taking action, resulting in a discussion some advocates found harmful.
“Misinformation was impacting the clarity around the subject and affecting councillors trying to make a clear and informed decision on the topic,” said Dan Shier, Queen City Pride co-chair.
Shier said transphobic comments and vehement defence of conversion therapy, which has been widely discredited and linked to mental health issues, were heard from both delegations and councillors, souring that outcome.
“Maybe [it’s] understandable for someone not familiar with the subject, but disappointing that people who are tasked with making major decisions like this maybe didn’t come prepared,” Shier said.
Others took issue with the fact that councillors were hesitant to endorse federal Bill C-6, which would largely criminalize conversion therapy. Several councillors worried the bill would be an over-reach.
Many delegates expressed a belief that the aforementioned definition of Bill C-6 was too broad and would result in conversations about sexual orientation and identity being criminalized.
“I think that in this situation, the only restriction on religious practice would be a religious practice that is done to children or to individuals that don’t consent,” said Wayne Soroka, Regina lawyer.
“[Not] if you were engaging in conversion therapy as a religious practice with a consenting adult, presumably you’re not getting paid for it and you’re not advertising it.”
Clancy Andreas, Regina resident and part of the LGBTQ2+ community, was seen waving a seven-foot Pride flag on the side of Ring Road Thursday.
Although Andreas wasn’t out specifically in response to council’s decision, they did express their support to the community, while adding a little more colour to the Queen City.
“I feel like I’m quite a proud person about my sexuality and gender and all that kind of stuff, so I just wanted to bring people happiness,” Andreas said. “Hanging out and doing peaceful stuff like this is really easy and there’s no downside.”
Vancouver became the first Canadian municipality to take action surrounding conversion therapy in 2018.
Since then, such cities as Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Saskatoon have passed laws banning the practice to some extent.