Director of advocacy for ARPA (Association for Reformed Political Action) Canada Mike Schouten speaking at a 2018 ARPA townhall meeting to discuss euthanasia in hospice facilities. (Twitter)

LETTER: Conversion therapy bill sends a chill over parents and faith leaders

ARPA Canada director says Liberal bill banning the practice criminalizes both the bad and the good

Conversion therapy is an abhorrent practice that should be banned in Canada. Unfortunately, the Liberal government has introduced a flawed bill that will not only criminalize the bad (shock therapy, coercion and isolation treatment) but also the good (talk therapy, counselling), and thereby reduce the availability of help for children and teens who experience gender dysphoria.

Children do not have the capacity to make irreversible, life-changing decisions. It is for good reason that a certain level of maturity is required before society allows children to drink alcohol, drive a motor vehicle, get married, etc. Gender dysphoria is real and those who experience it need to be loved, cherished, and cared for. Unfortunately, this bill aims to protect children with gender dysphoria by silencing everyone – except those who affirm a child’s choice – from dialoguing with them, even though a child certainly does not understand the consequences of embracing a dysphoric reality.

READ MORE: MP Mark Strahl abstained from vote on conversion therapy

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If this bill passes unamended, it will send a chill over any parent, counsellor, or faith leader who lovingly cares for a child experiencing gender dysphoria with anything other than an affirmation of those feelings. This not only disrespects the role of parents but also has the potential for tragic and lifelong challenges for the children they desire to love and care for.

Mike Schouten is director of advocacy for ARPA (Association for Reformed Political Action) Canada