The RMWB is taking steps to put a ban in place on Conversion Therapy.
Council met Tuesday and heard presentations from Pride YMM and Dr. Kristopher Wells of MacEwan University – who spoke to the negative impact the practice has on those in the LGBTQ-plus community.
After delegate presentations, council voted unanimously to have administration create a bylaw that will seek to prohibit the controversial practice in the RMWB.
Speaking to reporters, Mayor Don Scott says a ban is something that’s been a long time coming.
“The members of Pride YMM came to me during Pride celebrations and said this was an issue that needs to be addressed. That was the first time that anyone had come to me and said ‘let’s start advocacy to deal with it,’ so, it was really rooted in Pride YMM’s advocacy.”
Pride YMM committee member Mitchell Bowers detailed his experience growing up as a gay youth in Fort McMurray.
While Bowers says he didn’t personally experience conversion therapy – he understands the negative psychological repercussions associated with people being unaccepting of certain sexual orientations and identities.
Scott notes they are expecting Administration to report back to them with a bylaw prepared – by the end of the year.
“We’ll have to see how that goes. There’s going to be challenges, I know there’s always timeline issues. They have a lot going on with downtown revitalization and many other things – but that is the next step.”
Scott adds conversion therapy is an unscientific and unethical practice that needs to be addressed.
“We need to make sure that people are kept safe and the decision tonight was to unanimously pass this motion to ban conversion therapy and bring forward a bylaw that will do that. We’re going to take steps against this, and it really is just to show the community that we support them.”