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Vancouver first Canadian city to ban conversion therapy

Last Updated Jun 6, 2018 at 9:20 pm PDT

Photo of Peter Gajdics (Maclean's Photo)

Peter Gajdics went through 6 years of conversion therapy

Gajdics brought a motion to ban the practice to city hall last year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the the Pride and Transgender Pride flags fly at city hall, Vancouver has become the first city in Canada to ban conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a controversial treatment that targets the LBTQ+ community.

A man who survived six and a half years of it is calling the City of Vancouver’s ban, ‘precedent setting’.

Peter Gajdics says he told his parents he was gay in his early 20s, but, when they refused to accept him. He left Vancouver, eventually looking to a psychiatrist for guidance when he got depressed.

His doctor told him to reject his sexuality blaming it on an incident of sexual abuse that happened when Gajdics was a child.

“Our goal in therapy was to heal the childhood sexual abuse, and that would put me back to heterosexuality, or so [the doctor’s] logic went,” he says, adding if it had stopped there it would’ve been bad enough. But it didn’t stop there.

He calls the therapy “prolonged torture”.

“There was psychiatric medication and injections of ketamine hydrochloride [an animal anesthetic], primal screen therapy. It was six years of torture,” he says. “My case is somewhat extreme but I have no doubt that these kinds of things, to some degree, still happen.”

He says ketamine was used as a part of his “reparenting” sessions where he would lie in the doctor’s lap like a newborn baby so he could nurture his as his new “daddy”. He says it’s shocking that conversion therapy still happens.

“Conversion therapy is homophobia. That’s what it is. It’s homophobia in therapeutic environments and it would be naive to think that there aren’t some therapists out there…who aren’t still using antiquated theories,” says Gajdics.

“There was a case in Ontario just a couple months ago where a psychiatrist lost his license–just a couple months ago!–for practicing these types of things for years and years very similar to what I went through.”

Gajdics says he originally brought this to council a year and a half ago when releasing his book detailing his conversion therapy. He says he was near tears when council passed it unanimously.