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Experiences with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conversion Therapy Practices among Sexual Minority Men in Canada, 2019–2020

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Background"Conversion therapy" practices (CTP) are organized and sustained efforts to avoid the adoption of non-heterosexual sexual orientations and/or of gender identities not assigned at birth. Few data are available to inform the contemporary prevalence of CTP. The aim of this study is to quantify the prevalence of CTP among Canadian sexual and gender minority men, including details regarding the setting, age of initiation, and duration of CTP exposure.MethodsSexual and gender minority men, including transmen and non-binary individuals, aged ≥ 15, living in Canada were recruited via social media and networking applications and websites, November 2019—February 2020. Participants provided demographic data and detailed information about their experiences with CTP.Results21% of respondents (N = 9,214) indicated that they or any person with authority (e.g., parent, caregiver) ever tried to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, and 10% had experienced CTP. CTP experience was highest among non-binary (20%) and transgender respondents (19%), those aged 15–19 years (13%), immigrants (15%), and racial/ethnic minorities (11–22%, with variability by identity). Among the n = 910 participants who experienced CTP, most experienced CTP in religious/faith-based settings (67%) or licensed healthcare provider offices (20%). 72% of those who experienced CTP first attended before the age of 20 years, 24% attended for one year or longer, and 31% attended more than five sessions.InterpretationCTP remains prevalent in Canada and is most prevalent among younger cohorts, transgender people, immigrants, and racial/ethnic minorities. Legislation, policy, and education are needed that target both religious and healthcare settings.
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