Conversion Therapy: Guide

Welcome to Let Me Be Me: a Legal Information Guide to Canada’s Conversion Therapy Ban.

Watch this short video to get an idea of what the guide has to offer!

This guide is intended to help you understand what conversion therapy* is and is not, what its impacts are on the health and wellbeing of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, and what these new laws mean for people across our country.

In writing this guide, we have relied on this wisdom, expertise, and generously shared life experiences and stories of the many members of our Nova Scotian 2SLGBTQIA+ community with whom we have consulted. Due to the sensitive and often traumatic nature of conversion therapy*, many of these individuals have chosen to stay anonymous, though some have allowed us to share their stories as part of this publication.

We are grateful to each and every individual who has participated in our consultation process. We hope that this guide authentically reflects and honours your experiences, your resilience, your identities, and your truths.

We encourage you to view the other tabs of this website, which includes: 

  • Survivors Speak: Listen to our rich and informative six-part podcast series featuring courageous voices of Nova Scotian survivors of conversion therapy*
  • Meet Us: A portrait gallery displaying beautiful portraits and quotes from Nova Scotian survivors of conversion therapy*, and faith leaders who are committed to gender inclusion
  • A resource list with additional information on this topic
  • Social media content for you to share with your networks

Download the guide for offline viewing
pdf Let Me Be Me (1.88 MB)

Or browse it right here

*A note on language: Throughout this guide, we have chosen to place an asterisk next to the phrase “conversion therapy.” We have done so because the term conversion therapy* is misleading, in the sense that it is not actually a therapeutic practice in any traditional or reasonable understanding of what therapy involves and what its purpose is. 

Conversion therapy* is also not recognized as a credible practice by any reputable or accredited medical or therapeutic organization or governing body. 

Therapy or counseling are, in a general sense, practices focused on the healing and wellbeing of the individuals seeking out these services. In contrast, conversion therapy* is an inherently harmful practice that seeks to suppress or alter an essential aspect of an individual’s identity and sense of self. 

Some organizations, such as Canada’s Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC), prefer to use the phrase "conversion practices" to avoid using the term therapy. One of CBRC's core projects focuses on “sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts” (abbreviated as “SOGIECE”), which include any practice or effort, explicit or implicit, that pressures a person to change their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to heterosexual and/or cisgender. SOGIECE includes conversion practices but also encompasses other ways and situations in which 2SLGBTQIA+ people experience harmful pressure to suppress their authentic selves. 

We have chosen to retain the term conversion therapy* for the sake of clarity and simplicity, given that this is how the practice is most commonly known. We have also kept the term ‘conversion therapy’* because this is the term used in the Criminal Code itself. 

At the same time, however, we wanted to emphasize that conversion therapy* is far removed and fundamentally at odds with the ethical guidelines and client-centered, healing-focused practices of therapy or counseling.