Information and Resources
‘Conversion therapy’ does not always look the same. It can take a number of different forms and show up in many different places. For this reason, we think of ‘conversion therapy’ as any practice—which could include prayer or ‘talk therapy’ or workshops, among many others —that starts with an assumption that being Two-Spirit*, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (2S/LGBTQ) is bad, wrong, or just unwanted.
We created this page for survivors of ‘conversion therapy,’ as well as those who experienced anti-2S/LGBTQ practices and aren’t sure whether it was ‘conversion therapy’ or not. You may also have ‘conversion therapy’ survivors in your life, and reading the information on this page could help you better support them.
What is Conversion Therapy?
Conversion therapy is a discredited and harmful practice that aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. It is often based on the belief that being LGBTQ+ is a mental illness or a sin that can and should be cured.
Conversion therapy can take many forms, including talk therapy, aversion therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Some conversion therapy practices involve subjecting individuals to extreme or abusive measures, such as physical or emotional violence, in an attempt to force them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Why is Conversion Therapy Harmful?
Conversion therapy is widely recognized as a harmful and unethical practice by leading medical and mental health organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, and the Canadian Psychological Association. Research has shown that conversion therapy can cause significant harm, including increased risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation.
Furthermore, conversion therapy is often based on harmful stereotypes and misinformation about LGBTQ+ people, which can lead to increased stigma and discrimination. Conversion therapy can also lead to a sense of shame, self-hatred, and trauma in the individuals subjected to it.
Is Conversion Therapy Legal in Canada?
Conversion therapy is illegal in Canada. In 2020, the Canadian government passed a bill to criminalize conversion therapy, making it a punishable offense to subject someone to conversion therapy or to force someone to undergo conversion therapy against their will.
However, it’s important to note that some religious or conservative organizations may continue to promote conversion therapy or offer related services. It’s important for individuals to seek support from qualified mental health professionals and organizations that are LGBTQ+ affirming and supportive.
If you or someone you know has been subjected to conversion therapy, it’s important to seek support from qualified mental health professionals and organizations that are LGBTQ+ affirming and supportive.
The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386) – https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
The 519 (416-392-6874) – https://www.the519.org/
PFLAG Canada (1-888-530-6777) – https://pflagcanada.ca/
Egale Canada (613-680-1622) – https://egale.ca/
SOGIC (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community) – https://www.sogic.caj/
LGBT Youth Line (1-800-268-9688) – https://www.youthline.ca/
Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity – https://ccgsd-ccdgs.org/
Rainbow Health Ontario – https://www.rainbowhealthontario.ca/
Gender Spectrum – https://www.genderspectrum.org/
Trans Lifeline (1-877-330-6366) – https://www.translifeline.org/
C. T. Survivors Connect – https://www.ctsurvivorsconnect.org/
Findings from the SOGIECE Survivor Support Project
In 2021-22, Jordan Sullivan led a national project to develop support systems for Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ people in Canada who have been harmed by the expectations of change or denial efforts. His team surveyed and interviewed hundreds of ‘conversion therapy’ survivors, in order to better understand how we can support the healing and recovery process.
Support Across Canada
Resource Links for Queer Support
- Qmunity: https://qmunity.ca/
- YouthCO: https://youthco.org/
- Trans Care BC: https://www.phsa.ca/transcarebc/
- Pflag Canada (Vancouver chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/vancouver/
- Prism: https://www.facebook.com/prismubc/
- Skipping Stone Foundation: https://www.skippingstone.ca/
- Calgary Outlink: https://www.calgaryoutlink.ca/
- Alberta Health Services: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17298.aspx
- Camp fYrefly: https://www.fyrefly.ualberta.ca/
- Rainbow Connection (Lethbridge): https://www.facebook.com/rainbowconnectionyql/
- OUTSaskatoon: https://outsaskatoon.ca/
- Gender and Sexual Diversity Services (University of Saskatchewan): https://students.usask.ca/wellness/support/gender-and-sexual-diversity-services.php
- Pflag Canada (Saskatoon chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/saskatoon/
- Pride Regina: https://www.prideregina.com/
- Moose Jaw Pride: https://www.facebook.com/MooseJawPride/
- Rainbow Resource Centre: https://www.rainbowresourcecentre.org/
- Klinic Community Health: https://klinic.mb.ca/
- Gender Dysphoria Assessment and Action for Youth (GDAAY) Clinic: https://goodbear.ca/programs/gdaay/
- Pflag Canada (Winnipeg chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/winnipeg/
- Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre: https://www.matc.ca/
- The 519: https://www.the519.org/
- Rainbow Health Ontario: https://www.rainbowhealthontario.ca/
- Egale Canada: https://egale.ca/
- SOGIE Survivors: https://sogiesurvivors.com/
- Toronto Queer and Trans Youth Collective: https://www.tqtc.ca/
- GRIS-Montréal: https://gris.ca/
- Gender Advocacy Project: https://www.genderadvocacy.org/
- Project 10: https://p10.qc.ca/
- Pflag Canada (Montreal chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/montreal/
- Conseil québécois LGBT: https://www.cqld.ca/
- Fredericton Gender Minorities Group: https://www.fgmgnb.ca/
- AIDS New Brunswick: http://www.aidsnb.com/
- Pflag Canada (Fredericton chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/fredericton/
- The Youth Project: https://youthproject.ns.ca/
- Moncton Gender Minorities Group: https://www.facebook.com/MonctonGenderMinorities/
- The Youth Project: https://youthproject.ns.ca/
- Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP): https://nsrap.ca/
- Pflag Canada (Halifax chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/halifax/
- South House: https://southhousehalifax.ca/
- Wayves Magazine: https://wayves.ca/
Prince Edward Island:
- Pride PEI Website: https://pridepei.ca/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- AIDS PEI Website: http://www.aidspei.com/ Phone: (902) 566-2437
- Pflag Canada (Charlottetown chapter) Website: https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/charlottetown/ Email: email@example.com
- Island Sexual Health Society Website: https://islandsexualhealth.org/ Phone: (902) 566-4646
- PEERS Alliance Website: https://www.peersalliance.ca/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newfoundland and Labrador:
- St. John’s Pride: https://www.stjohnspride.ca/
- Safe Alliance NL: https://safealliancenl.ca/
- Pflag Canada (St. John’s chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/st-johns/
- AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador: https://acnl.net/
- Spectrum Queer Media: https://www.spectrumqueermedia.com/
- Yukon Queer Film Alliance: https://yukonqueerfilm.com/
- Gender Journeys: https://yukonstruct.com/programs/gender-journeys/
- Pflag Canada (Whitehorse chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/whitehorse/
- Blood Ties Four Directions Centre: https://bloodties.ca/
- Yukon Rainbow Alliance: https://yukonrainbowalliance.ca/
- Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife: https://rainbowcoalitionyk.org/
- AIDS NWT: https://www.aidsnwt.com/
- Pflag Canada (Yellowknife chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/yellowknife/
- NWT Human Rights Commission: https://nwthumanrights.ca/
- The Yellowknife Women’s Society: http://www.yellowkinifewomenssociety.com/
- Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line: https://kamatsiaqtut.com/
- Pflag Canada (Iqaluit chapter): https://www.pflagcanada.ca/chapters/iqaluit/
- Embrace Life Council: http://inuusiq.com/
- Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.: https://www.tunngavik.com/
- Qayuqtuvik Society: https://www.qayuqtuvik.org/
**Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and there may be other resources available in your area. It’s important to seek out professional mental health support if you are a survivor of conversion therapy, as it can have long-lasting impacts on mental health and well-being.**
Survivor-led support groups
We are aware of the following support groups currently meeting in North America. Please let us know if you have others to add to this list.
CT Survivors Connect (Canada):
Canadian ‘conversion therapy’ research
What is the scope & nature of ‘conversion therapy’ in Canada?: results from interviews with 22 survivors (2020):
How many people in Canada have experienced ‘conversion therapy’?: results from a national survey with over 9,000 people (2019-20): https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0252539
For more information, visit the Community-Based Research Centre ‘conversion therapy’/SOGIECE page: https://www.cbrc.net/conversion_therapy_sogiece
Still looking for more information?
Check out these additional articles and reports that may help you better understand ‘conversion therapy,’ its harms, and how to support survivors as they heal.
“Supporting Survivors of Conversion Therapy”, Reilla Archibald, MindMapBC (Canada): https://www.mindmapbc.ca/articles/supporting-survivors-of-conversion-therapy/
“Ending conversion therapy in Canada: Survivors, community leaders, researchers, and allies address the current and future states of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts”, Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity (Canada): https://www.cgshe.ca/sogiece/
UnErased Podcast, Radiolab NYC (USA): https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/unerased-davidson-gay-cure
W5: Undercover investigation into conversion therapy in Canada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc-I2EdbQiM
SOGIECE Survivor Statement (Australia): http://socesurvivors.com.au/
The Brave Network (Australia): https://thebravenetwork.org/
This page was compiled with generous feedback from:
We are grateful for financial support from the Community-Engaged Research Initiative at Simon Fraser University.
The Monthly Meetings of our Survivors Support Group run on the third Monday of each month.
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Monday October 16th @ 7:00PM EST
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