Research in the U.S. has shown that conversion therapy is consistently associated with increased suicide risk.
December 8, 2021 — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, applauded the Canadian government for taking action to protect LGBTQ young people from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. Research in the United States consistently demonstrates that LGBTQ youth who have been subjected to conversion therapy report significantly higher rates of attempting suicide and other negative mental health outcomes.
After two previously failed attempts, Bill C-4, a bill banning conversion therapy, was expedited and approved unanimously in both the House of Commons and Senate. Today, the legislation formally received Royal Assent, the ceremonial signature by the Governor General of Canada on behalf of the Crown. The law will go into effect 30 days following the Royal Assent.
“The Trevor Project is thrilled to see the Canadian government take swift action to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called conversion ‘therapy,’ a discredited practice that has only ever shown to increase suicide risk. Prioritizing this issue will send a resounding message to LGBTQ youth around the globe that they deserve love and support, and that they are beautiful the way they are,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “Thank you to No Conversion Canada and to all of the tireless advocates who helped make this long-fought victory possible.”
“The passing of Bill C-4 and the unanimous support it received from every official in Parliament sends a clear message to LGBTQ2 Canadians: you are valid and deserving of a life free from harm,” said Nicholas Schiavo, Founder of No Conversion Canada. “Today, as we celebrate this historic moment, we must thank survivors and their tireless advocacy to reach this moment where conversion ‘therapy’ is finally outlawed in our country.”
The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, capturing the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth across the U.S., found that 13% of LGBTQ youth reported being subjected to conversion therapy, with 83% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. LGBTQ youth who were subjected to conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not.
Further, a peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project’s researchers, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.
For journalists looking to learn more about how to cover the issue of conversion therapy, here is a guide on best practices.
If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting 678678.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide.