A Canadian MP has criticised the government’s move to ban homophobic and transphobic ‘conversion therapy’, claiming it will legalise child abuse and “cutting off sex organs”.
The Trudeau government introduced legislation earlier this year to ban the practice, in a move welcomed by equality advocates.
Conservative MP Derek Sloan has opposed the bill and thrown his support behind anti-LGBTQ conversion, Gay Star News has reported.
Often associated with religious organisations, conversion therapy may range from counselling to physical aversion techniques such as electric shocks in an attempt to force a person to be heterosexual or cisgender.
It has been both discredited as futile and condemned as harmful by health experts and human rights organisations worldwide.
Sloan claimed the Canadian legislation is “effectively putting into law child abuse” and voiced his support for anti-LGBTQ “counselling”.
“The Liberals have said no, you can’t get counselling and if… as a parent, you take your kid to get counselling for this, you can go to jail for five years,” Sloan said.
“That’s insane, that’s ridiculous.
“But on the other hand, you’re allowed to put your kid on these… invasive medical regimes, you’re allowed to… give them these puberty blockers, you’re allowed to literally cut off their healthy, you know, breasts and other sex organs.
“That is child abuse.
“And I accuse Justin Trudeau and his government right now of child abuse, that’s what they’re putting into law.”
Sloan’s transphobic comments have drawn condemnation even from members of his own party.
Fellow Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay called the remarks “reprehensible”.
“Forcing a child into ‘conversion therapy’ is child abuse and it absolutely must be banned,” MacKay said.
The Prime Minister’s office refused to dignify Sloan’s comments with a response, but communications director Cameron Ahmad reiterated that conversion therapy “is a discredited, degrading, deeply harmful practice that has damaged countless lives and has absolutely no place in Canadian society”.
“Banning it is an important part of our work to advance true equality and protect all Canadians,” said Ahmad.
Germany last month became the fifth country to ban conversion therapies.
In Australia, federal and state governments are under increasing pressure to do the same.
More than 63,000 people have signed a petition by a survivor of religious anti-gay conversion therapy calling on the federal government to criminalise the practice.
New Zealand and the United Kingdom are also considering banning conversion therapy.