Category: Position Statements

Letter in Support for Banning Conversion Therapy in Regina

Regina City Council first brought up the discussion of banning conversion therapy in April 2021, where Council debated writing a letter of recommendation for the federal Bill C-6. Over the next several months, the motion included an amendment to draft a municipal bylaw that would ban conversion therapy in Regina, modeled after a similar bylaw in Saskatoon.

The debate surrounding this motion included a great deal of transphobia, homophobia, and other discriminatory views by guest delegates. Many of these anti-2SLGBTQ speakers were from outside Regina, and often from outside Saskatchewan.

The draft bylaw is to be presented and debated in July 2021. This will likely result in the return of the anti-2SLGBTQ speakers and their hateful rhetoric. Some city councillors also expressed unjustified concerns about passing a conversion therapy ban.

If you feel passionate about banning conversion therapy and you would like your voice heard by Regina City Council, use our letter of support and our step-by-step guide to reach out to your councillor.

Step 1 — Find your city councillor

Use the wards map on the City of Regina’s website to find which ward you live in and which councillor represents you.

Step 2 — Fill out your contact information

On the City of Regina’s councillor contact page, select the ward where you live and the councillor who represents you. Fill in your name, address, phone number, and email address. While some of this information isn’t mandatory, it helps to convince councillors that you are a real person who does live in Regina.

Step 3 — Add the letter body

Copy and paste the following into the “Your Message” box. Please read it in its entirety and ensure that you agree with its message. Feel free to change it in any way you think is best.

I am writing to express my support for the bylaw to ban conversion therapy, which would list conversion therapy — a harmful, coercive practice masquerading as a form of “therapy” — as a prohibited business.

Following the evidence-based decisions of other municipalities — including Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver — prohibiting conversion therapy affirms the human right to self-determination and non-discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression as presented in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Prohibiting conversion therapy at the municipal level is particularly important, as it can mitigate the adverse health effects caused by conversion therapy and act as a symbolic stand against hatred toward the 2SLGBTQ community.

In a 2019 compilation of research on conversion therapy by Dr. K. Wells at MacEwan University in Alberta, Conversion therapy in Canada: The roles and responsibilities of municipalities — the author conveys both the seriousness of the health impacts of conversion therapy and the necessity for action at the municipal level. As Wells notes,

“Rates of attempted suicide by LGBT young people whose parent tried to change their sexual orientation were more than double (48%) the rate of LGBT young adults who reported no conversion experiences (22%). Suicide attempts nearly tripled for LGBT young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and intervention efforts by therapists and religious leaders (63%).”

He further notes that “it is clear that no one can actively provide informed consent for such a harmful, deceitful, and dangerous practice.”

In addition to mitigating these serious health impacts, the report notes that over 20,000 people have been subjected to conversion therapy in Canada, necessitating action at all levels of government. Municipalities who have successfully banned conversion therapy cite many rationales, both practical and symbolic, including:

  • Promoting the physical and psychological well-being and equality of 2SLGBTQ persons;
  • Protecting vulnerable citizens from dangerous, deceptive, and abusive practices; and
  • Restricting and preventing harmful, unscientific, and ineffective practices from occurring.

It is my belief that Regina residents will benefit from the implications of a bylaw to ban conversion therapy, and I strongly encourage the city to take evidence-based action on this important human rights issue.

Step 4 — Press submit

Complete the CAPTCHA and press submit. You’re done! Thank you for participating in this important civic process and for your support of the 2SLGBTQ community.

Sex Worker Solidarity

Last year the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) were signed into law, and are now beginning to be enforced more broadly. In response to these acts, as well as the Cloud Act, the Board of Directors for TransSask Support Services Inc. has decided to both change our official site domain from .org to .ca, and migrate our hosting services to a Canadian based provider.

We’ve made these moves to ensure the protection of our website, services, partners and community from over-reaching and dangerous legislation, and believe this move is a necessary step of being able to provide resources and support for sex workers. SESTA/FOSTA has already been widely condemned as a violation of people’s rights, both to privacy and free speech. These acts conflate sex work with sex trafficking, and directly harms many of the people it purports to protect by removing essential resources for screening, communication, and safe advertisement of their services. As a result, it forces sex workers into increasingly unsafe spaces to conduct their business both online and off.

TransSask Support Services stands in solidarity with sex workers, and thus, is in direct opposition to these oppressive laws. We recognize that people are involved in sex work for a vast number of reasons, and while action must be taken to prevent sex trafficking, the two are not synonymous and these acts are absolutely not the correct course of action to take. We will continue to support sex workers access much needed resources and care, and work to both fight these existing laws as well as ensure similar laws are not enacted here in Saskatchewan/Canada.

If you are a sex worker interested in supporting other sex workers in the province, let us know, we would be happy to start a conversation around how TransSask can best support  your needs.