Two separate petitions launched earlier this year in Canada asking the government to ban conversion therapy have amassed a combined 70,000 signatures.
One petition has received 11,200 signatures, and the other – which was started by It Gets Better Canada – has 58,400, according to BBC News.
The first petition calls on Canada’s government to ban conversion therapy for minors, and also asks them to prohibit taking young people out of the country to take part in the practice.
Meanwhile, It Gets Better Canada is asking the government to clearly state that Canada “opposes the use of conversion therapy and other related treatments,” according to the BBC.
“[Conversion therapy] is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’.”
Devon Hargreaves, who helped launch one of the petitions, told the BBC that there was no reason for Canada to allow the practice as a country that considers itself a forerunner in human rights.
Just three countries in the world ban conversion therapy – Ecuador, Brazil and Malta.
UK LGBT+ charity Stonewall defines conversion therapy as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity.
“It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’.”
The charity also brands the practice as “unethical and harmful.”
All major counselling and psychotherapy bodies in the UK – as well as the NHS – have condemned conversion therapy.
A 2009 survey of more than 1,300 mental health professionals in the UK found that over 200 had offered some form of conversion therapy.
Film depictions of conversion therapy
Conversion therapy has been making headlines recently as two high-profile films have recently been made about the practice.
Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post have both made waves for their powerful depictions of the harmful practice.
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“It’s a silent epidemic.”
– Chloe Grace Moretz
Troye Sivan, who stars in Boy Erased, called conversion therapy “dangerous, hurtful and obviously ineffective” last month.
Chloe Grace Moretz, who stars in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, told PinkNews in September that she had been “unaware of the modernity of the issue” before doing the film.
“It’s a silent epidemic that, now more than ever, especially under our administration, is growing in traction.”
Moretz also said that her experience of filming the teen drama has led her to activism.
Conversion therapy in India
Meanwhile, in India, a court recently summoned a doctor after it was discovered that he was practicing conversion therapy on gay men and lesbians.
Dr. PK Gupta was summoned by the Delhi High Court for claiming that he could “treat” gay men and lesbians using electric shocks.
He also said homosexuality was a “genetic mental disorder” and told patients that they could be cured, according to Outlook India.
The court summoned Gupta after a complaint was made against him by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC), who barred him from practicing in 2016.