Whitehorse Daily Star

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TAKING A STAND – Mercedes Bacon-Traplin (foreground; left person holding banner) was one of the participants in the gathering held outside the Yukon legislature in April. Two federal ministers are asking the government to outlaw conversion therapy,

Therapy ‘shameful, cruel,’ Ottawa tells YG

Two federal ministers have asked two Yukon ministers to ban conversion therapy in the territory.

By Whitehorse Star on July 12, 2019

Two federal ministers have asked two Yukon ministers to ban conversion therapy in the territory.

David Lametti, the minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the minister of Health, make the urging in a letter obtained by the Star this week.

It has been sent to Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost and Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee.

Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to transform someone who is gay, transgender or bisexual into a heterosexual person.

“We are writing to urge you to take action to end the shameful practice of conversion therapy,” says the federal ministers’ letter, published on p. 16 of today’s Star.

“Conversion therapy is a cruel exercise that can lead to life-long trauma. It has no scientific basis.

“ ... We strongly encourage you to take action to discourage and end conversion ‘therapy’ within your jurisdiction.”

A territorial cabinet spokeswoman told the Star this week the federal ministers’ letter has been received. The Yukon government continues to examine measures other jurisdictions have taken and to weigh its options, she said.

A petition calling for a ban of conversion therapy was presented to the Yukon legislature in April.

It had drawn more than 400 signatures of support in just a few months, thanks to help from students in Whitehorse schools.

Those schools included F.H. Collins and Porter Creek Secondary Schools, whose Gender and Sexuality Alliances gathered in the legislature during a question period in April and earlier outside the building.

Mercedes Bacon-Traplin, a student at F.H. and LGBTQ2S+ rights activist, watched on as NDP MLA Kate White read the petition out in the legislature.

It called for the ban “to minors in Yukon and prohibit transporting minors outside of Yukon or Canada for such purposes.”

Speaking to reporters in April, Bacon-Traplin reflected on her experience and involvement in the movement, which first began with a friend over lunch.

“I was welcomed because my parents are gay themselves; I was totally accepted when I came out,” she said.

“But there are children, people I know myself, who if they were to come out, would not be accepted – and I want to make sure that those people are protected and safe no matter what their home life is like.”

She said she was “shocked” to find out conversion therapy has not been banned in the Yukon.

“So after the initial ‘oh my God’ kind of thing, we were like, ‘we need to do something about this – this is not OK,’” Bacon-Traplin said.

Conversion therapy, as she defined it, “is the practice of attempting to take someone who is gay or transgender or bisexual and turn them into a cisgender, heterosexual person.”

Methods have varied throughout the years.

They have included electroshock therapy, icepick lobotomies, chemical castration and developed into things like psychotherapy – some of which date back to the 1900s.

After the petition was tabled three months ago, White quizzed Jeanie Dendys, the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, on the topic.

Dendys said her and McPhee’s mandate letters from Premier Sandy Silver instructed them to “conduct a review of legislation, policies and practices to ensure the Yukon government meets the rules and social standards for LGBTQ2S+ non-discrimination.”

The Canadian Psychological Association is among the groups that have condemned the use of conversion therapy, and Dendys noted that the government does not support it in any form.

Comments (11)

Up 51 Down 9

Juniper Jackson on Jul 15, 2019 at 11:02 am

This is the issue that isn't. There is no substance what so ever that conversion therapy was ever practiced here. I came in 1965. Many gay people here, and ya know what? NO one cared..they still don't. There are bigger issues going on in our world than who you choose to love. These gay groups, need to get jobs, get over themselves, and get on with their lives.

Up 50 Down 2

Apex Parasite on Jul 15, 2019 at 7:33 am

I have children. I have grandchildren. Life is confusing. I really don't care if they are attracted to boys or girls regardless of their perceived genders / identities. They are who they are and who they are is subject to change without notice. It's confusing. It's fine.

But I am tired. Tired of the latest social narrative being rammed down our collective throats. I don't care if you're gay. I don't care if you're straight. I don't care if you identify as a giraffe. Do what you want in essence and within the realm of don't hurt people or things needlessly.... but please stop slapping me in the face with a new alpha numeric every second day trying to keep up with how confusing life is.

As far as identifying in a concrete fashion this gender or that, or trying to slot oneself into norms dictated by a flawed and global paradigm... good luck with this, especially with young people. Children and young people are cruel... they have always been thus. Not 100 percent of course but by and large, yup, pretty nasty sometimes. It's a learning process. I did things in school and when young that I am ashamed of now and collectively this is how I arrive at who I am today.... and I don't care about your gender or your lack thereof.

I do care when the system takes obvious sides. I do care when this taking of sides means that targets are more clearly delineated by the process of trying to accommodate every whim of a developing society. I mean the sentiment is laudable but only when the government or somebody is there to enforce it, when big brother ain't around s**t gets real for those who single themselves out.

We are all multi spirited. We are all human. We are all at different times of our lives different people.... quit ramming this always true but only recently focused on fact down my throat... I really don't care.

Life is confusing.....maybe you're overthinking it.

Up 20 Down 9

It's Our Choice on Jul 14, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Many religious groups, notably some of our recent immigrants, believe that counseling their children on matters of sexuality is part of their religious freedom to practice as they see fit. The government has no right or reason to interfere and any such bans will be challenged in court.
This sort of facile virtue signaling has become de-rigor with our current alt-left socialists, and it's past time for them to butt out of our lives with their attempts at social engineering.

Up 33 Down 9

Groucho d'North on Jul 13, 2019 at 8:20 pm

Here come the thought police.
I have strong misgivings of any flavour government or interest group who believe they have any authority to tell people what the correct way to think is. The last bastion of true freedom is what we as individuals think. And if persuasion has been weaponized in order to alter what and how we think, who then is the final arbitrator to decide what is right or wrong thinking?
Just thinking out loud here: I wonder if and how some may be persuaded to select from the non-heterosexual menu of options? Shouldn’t this form of persuasion also be outlawed if it exists?

Up 30 Down 5

AL on Jul 13, 2019 at 2:55 pm

It seems that few readers know about the Jake Epp letter I referred to earlier on the 12th. The significance from the Minister of the day for Indian and Northern Affairs is the cornerstone of our democratic rights here in the Yukon under the Yukon Act. I would like to share with you a portion of our history as it was written in the day - 40 years ago:

"In May of 1979 when the federal election brought in the short-lived government of Joe Clark. Jake Epp, a Mennonite from Manitoba, was appointed Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and became the de-facto political boss of the Yukon. But there was no doubt that the real power now lay in the hands of the Yukon’s member of Parliament Erik Nielsen, who was also appointed to the Clark cabinet. Nielsen had long advocated provincial status for the Yukon.

Things began to happen in a hurry and the role of Nielsen was not well hidden. In June of 1979, Yukon Government Leader Chris Pearson wrote to Epp outlining his government's position on responsible government for the territory. He demanded that the commissioner be removed from the executive committee, which ran the day–to-day political affairs of the Yukon. Epp agreed and the die was cast.

Yukon Commissioner Ione Christensen said that, while she did not oppose the changes, she did feel that they would be implemented far too fast. She hinted broadly that she might have to resign. On October 9th, 1979 Epp wrote the now famous Epp letter to Commissioner Christensen.

Epp told Christensen to remove herself from the policy-making process and not participate in day-to-day affairs of the Executive Council. Epp said as commissioner, she must now accept the advice of the Territorial Council in all matters of the Yukon Act which are delegated to the Commissioner.

Epp had fired the Commissioner and on that day, the commissioner became the Lieutenant Governor for the Yukon. But it would not be Christensen. She resigned. The Epp letter also authorized the Yukon government leader to refer to himself as "Premier" and to his cabinet members as "Ministers" if they so wished.

The changes brought the Yukon into line with provincial governments. Elected politicians were now responsible for the policies and expenditures of the Yukon government. The Yukon was fast becoming a province in all but name."

Now you may understand why I feel particularly insulted by the correspondence received by the Federal Liberal Government of recent. Clearly they do not understand our right to govern as "we see fit" without interference from the Federal level. We will decide what is appropriate for the Yukon through those we have democratically elected.

What the Federal Government owe is a public apology to all Yukoners, in particular the elders who were part of that historic moment. Of course we could wistful in our thinking that Trudeau, with a tear in his eye, would make the apology on the steps of Parliament. Please do not hold your breathe.

Up 42 Down 9

Josey Wales on Jul 13, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Ya wanna know what I suggest is shameful?
The absolute fetish with one component of liberal dogma, which is of course IDENTITY POLITICS!
Divide and conquer is a great way to get a mosaic of special interest groups active and combative.
Very difficult to cooperate as a group when so much internal bickering and power grasps preoccupy our time.
Even if one absolutely loathes anything and or everything I vocalize on, you would have to redefine “cognitive dissonance” to not see the evidence of said suggested engineered tactics.
To avoid this indoctrination/conversion therapy, keep your kids outta and far away from public school and liberal sycophants devoid of logic and reality by obvious default in my mere opinion.

Up 47 Down 5

Tina on Jul 12, 2019 at 8:57 pm

Story is misleading. There's no info on whether or not it's actually practiced here, which it very likely is not. The story leads the reader to believe that electroshock therapy, icepick lobotomies and chemical castration is practiced in the Yukon is which I believe it is not. Nothing wrong with banning something that isn't done and should not be done to anyone for any reason.

It would be nice if the story relayed all the info and facts.

Up 56 Down 13

Seth Wright on Jul 12, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Ban it? Any therapy is choice. No person could be forced into conversion therapy against their will. It is a non-issue being presented as though it were...

Let’s ban exhaling... For Liberals anyway. It would help reduce emissions, it would create greater unity, and increase the collective intelligence... Win, win!

Up 82 Down 31

Brainwashing Our Kids on Jul 12, 2019 at 4:05 pm

The only conversion therapy that exists is when the education system pushes LGBTQS2 ideas down the throats of perfectly fine kids when they go to school. A lot of kids wouldn’t even know what this stuff was without being introduced to it in detail in the classroom.

Up 48 Down 21

Al on Jul 12, 2019 at 3:54 pm

The know-it-all Liberals in Ottawa need to mind their own damn business. We are not their students, nor are we to be dictated to by them. Perhaps they need to read the Jake Epp letter to refresh their memory on our right to govern.

Up 22 Down 13

Yeah Right Whatever on Jul 12, 2019 at 3:14 pm

Just ban it. That's how we got rid of drugs.

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