Nanaimo city council has asked for a staff report on options around a ban on conversion therapy in the City of Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo city council has asked for a staff report on options around a ban on conversion therapy in the City of Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)

City of Nanaimo looking at banning conversion therapy

Council votes unanimously to ask for staff report on options

The City of Nanaimo wants to take a step to support members of the LGBTQ community to be free to be themselves.

At a meeting Monday, Nanaimo city council voted unanimously in favour of Coun. Sheryl Armstrong’s motion to request a staff report outlining options for the City of Nanaimo to ban conversion therapy.

The practice, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or their gender to cisgender, has been denounced as harmful by the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychiatry Association and other groups. The federal Department of Justice says conversion therapy has been shown to lead to loneliness, illicit drug use, suicide ideation and suicide attempts.

The City of Nanaimo’s advisory committee on accessibility and inclusiveness unanimously recommended a conversion therapy ban following a presentation from Nanaimo Pride Society president Alessandro Iachelli last month.

“From personal experience and through conversations with other people in my own life who have been subjected to this practice, it was super important to me that we took the lead and put it out there,” Iachelli told the News Bulletin.

He said he doesn’t know of conversion therapy happening in Nanaimo specifically, but pointed out that it’s municipalities that issue business licences and suggested a “comprehensive solution” involving all three levels of government would be most effective.

“Political leaders definitely need to take a stand against this and make the statement that Nanaimo is a welcoming and inclusive city, respects its queer communities [and] doesn’t tolerate this kind of thing,” Iachelli said. “It’s also important for our youth here in Nanaimo to hear that … if they’re exploring and expressing their sexual orientation and gender identity and so on, they need to feel that they are supported by everybody.”

Legislation to ban conversion therapy has stalled at both the provincial and federal levels. Iachelli said he hopes those pieces of legislation are reintroduced soon, and said bans in cities like Calgary and potentially Nanaimo could be an impetus for other levels of government to act.

Council passed the motion with little discussion. Coun. Don Bonner said he’s “totally in favour” and Coun. Zeni Maartman said as much as she’d like to go ahead and implement a ban, she understands the need to go through a proper process to do so.

Mayor Leonard Krog expressed doubt about the city’s ability to enact a ban, but said it’s important to “make a statement that conversion therapy is not something that’s appreciated by members of this council.”

READ ALSO: Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

READ ALSO: B.C. Greens table bill to ban ‘conversion therapy’

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City HallLGBTQ

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo playwright Anne Nesbitt is presenting a staged reading of her play about Indigenous conservationist Gertrude Bernard, also known as Anahareo (from left). (Photo courtesy Andrew Nesbitt/Riding Mountain National Park)
Nanaimo playwright tells the story of Indigenous woman who ‘saved the beaver’

Anne Nesbitt presents ‘Anahareo’ as part of TheatreOne staged reading series

The City of Nanaimo is looking at spending another $400,000 on security throughout downtown in 2021, with a focus on overnight security. (Stock photo)
City of Nanaimo looks at increasing downtown security

Council members will consider $400,000 increase in 2021, $1.45 million in 2022

‘Nanaimo’ will be spelled out in five-foot-tall letters upon a slab of concrete overlooking Swy-a-Lana Lagoon at Maffeo Sutton Park. (Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin)
Five-foot-tall letters spelling out ‘Nanaimo’ coming to Maffeo Sutton Park

$50,000-project expected to be installed by the end of April

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help find a 37-year-old man who was last seen early Tuesday, April 13. (Photo submitted)
RCMP searching for missing Nanaimo man

Friends, family of Robert William Sport, 37, extremely concerned for his safety and well-being

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo teen arrested a day after allegedly assaulting and bullying victim

Teen taken into custody after wielding weapon and threatening driver at scene of car crash

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)
Orcas near the beach thrill whale watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Most Read