Look at this article
Businesses and religious organizations, whose donors benefit from tax credits, are trying to convince Quebecers that it is possible to treat or cure homosexuality, discovered our Bureau of investigation.
For four months, our team – with the help of an infiltrator and hidden cameras – has made contact with groups that are suspected of offering this kind of treatment. We found five organizations that offer this service or who have accepted the offer.
Aware of the controversy surrounding this type of therapy, these practitioners often operate in the shade. But for those who know where to look, the offer is diversified.
The ” demon “
Our team quickly managed to find pastors, counselors, and even a psychotherapist certified by the College of psychologists, who have proposed their services, most for hundreds of dollars.
Among the treatments offered, there are therapy sessions where it suggests that homosexuality is “caused” by trauma or a bad relationship with his father.
We also talk about workshops, religious offering, to heal people ” broken sexually “, and even a deliverance-like exorcism, where our infiltrator was released from the “demon” of homosexuality in the phone.
In all but one case, these services were associated with charities that raise thousands or even millions of dollars in donations eligible for tax credits.
The conversion therapy, also called ” reorientation therapy sexual “, states that homosexuality is a choice or a mental disorder. Its proponents seek to “restore” the heterosexuality of their clients or parishioners, or to encourage abstinence.
The pan american health Organization says that the treatments of conversion have no medical basis and ” pose a serious threat to the health and fundamental rights of the persons affected “. According to the organization, it is a practice “unjustifiable” should be ” denounced and subject to sanctions “.
The conversion therapy illegal for minors in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, and prohibited for everyone in the city of Vancouver.
In Quebec, the practices that are similar are generally frowned upon and condemned by several professional orders, but however, remain legal. It is this that wishes to change the organization in quebec Alliance arc-en-ciel, which gave birth to the nine recommendations in the margin of a report on the conversion therapy published last may.
“We, what we would like, it is an act that condemns people who do this kind of a therapy, calls the director, Julie Dubois. It really is a horror to think that there are people, of the children who undergo it. When we look at the evidence, it is abuse, pure and simple. “
The former liberal government of Philippe Couillard had established a working group to “identify the evidence on the question” and propose a plan of action. Julie Dubois says that he has received no invitation to this topic.
In October, a petition was filed in the House of commons urging the federal government to ban all forms of conversion therapy in the young. She has since collected more than 9000 signatures.
He lived not less than three therapies
Gabriel Nadeau has undergone three therapies of conversion during his teenage years. It is now accepted fully his homosexuality.
Gabriel Nadeau was barely 12 years old when he discovers his homosexuality, an attraction considered to be demonic in his community pentecostal evangelical. Troubled, he confides to his mother and asks for help to ” heal “.
“I thought it was something to get out, a one time shot, and only after I was going to be issued,” said the man who was now 24 years old.
Gabriel Nadeau 13 years of age.
The first grant is led by the religious leader of his parish in Montreal-Nord, a man who asks to be called ” Prophet “. After having fasted and drank the anointing oil, and Gabriel Nadeau suffered a ceremony, like an exorcism.
“They were four people to hold me, because they believe that when the demon comes out, the person is shaking,” he remembers. Nobody ever yelled at me in the ears like that, they shouted, “Demon, come out in Jesus ‘ name, demon of homosexuality out of the body of this young man” ! “
He described the process as being violent, traumatic.
“I just wanted to cry because it was really attacking them. But I so wanted it to work. “
There ensued a struggle which lasted seven years, the entirety of his adolescence. All in all he underwent three different therapies of conversion.
“I évangélisais for people to become christians, so one of my punchlines of sale, it was that God had me released from homosexuality, he notes. But this was not representative of my experience, because my fight, my rejection of myself, it was every day, every minute. “
“I followed all the instructions, all the will of God, but nothing changed. I was still attracted to guys. “
It is by exposing them to the world outside of his religious community that Gabriel Nadeau realize that there are other options, including the acceptance of self.
“I allowed myself to start to question me, and I think that was it, the turning point,” he said. Now happy and in love, Gabriel Nadeau hopes to serve as a model for those who are afraid to live their homosexuality.
“The people who are still there, they can have 20, 40, 60 years old, I just want they to hear my story and they realize that it is possible to live something else, it is really wonderful what you can live with. “
The approach of our infiltrator
Philippe Meunier, 37 years old, slipped into the skin of a man who difficulty accepting his sexual orientation. He has obtained appointments with therapists who have proposed to “treat” his homosexuality.
To infiltrate these groups and companies, our collaborator Philip Miller has slipped into the skin of a man rejecting his homosexuality.
A role that in no way reflects reality. 37-year-old, he made his coming out at the age of 21 years, supported by his family and his friends.
“I’m super lucky, I’ve always been accepted by everyone,” he says.
When our Bureau of investigation has approached for the project, Philippe was surprised to learn that this kind of therapy still existed in Quebec.
“I find it troubling, it is awful. “
For four months, our team has helped to contact the counselors, pastors and a psychotherapist with a query clear : he was attracted to men and no longer wished to be.
Ashamed of being homosexual
The life he told during his sessions of therapy followed pretty closely his or her own journey.
“I’m a life quite straight : a little bit of intimidation, a religious family, a blonde that I left for a guy. “Nothing particularly traumatic,” he says.
In this story, he added, feeling ashamed of his attraction to men and expressed a fear that his parents reject him.
The experts consulted by our Bureau of investigation argue that, according to the codes of ethics for practitioners in the helping relationship, it is necessary in this kind of case to help the patient accept and encourage it to get rid of his ideas of conversion. None of those consulted has prompted Philippe to take this path.
“They turned the corners quickly to find bobos,” he recalls. The bullying at school would have damaged his masculinity and the work shifts at night his father would have led to problems of attachment. A sexual experimentation in adolescence, described by Philippe as being a pleasant experience, suddenly becomes sexual abuse.
The take-home message ? These “tests” would have intermingled Philippe, and with a little therapy and a lot of good will it could get out of there and “become” straight. In one case, the heterosexuality was accessible through a single “grant” call, which is administered by a pastor époumonant against “the unclean spirit” of homosexuality.
“They really tried to convince me that I did not make the right choice “, laments the infiltrator.
“I was still pretty detached, but I kept saying to myself : “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow they’re going to see other people for the same reasons, except that, for them, it’s going to be true”. I find it disturbing to know that these people are in that position of power. “
They want to reprogram them for hundreds of dollars
Five organizations or individuals have proposed to our Office of investigation of reorientation therapies sexual. Here they are.
Journey Canada Journey Canada)
Here you see the web site of Course Canada, a religious organization that talks about sexual healing. The organization has offices in six provinces, including Quebec.
WHO ARE THEY ?
Formerly known under the name living waters Canada, or Living Waters Canada, pan-canadian organization with offices in six provinces, including Quebec. In its annual report of 2017, he claims to have assisted more than 9,000 people in 42 cities.
The services of Course in Canada we have been recommended by the american organization Desert Stream, which offers openly therapies of conversion. On his personal blog, the founder of Desert Stream, Andrew Cominsky, said to be a good friend of Toni Dolfo-Smith, president of Pathways Canada.
Although he offers workshops for people of all ages (including young people 14 to 24 years), the web site of Course Canada does not expressly mention the conversion, talking instead of healing a sexual or relational. But an audio clip of 2012, attributed to their coordinator, quebec Kathryn Alarie, is more explicit.
“Torrent of life is a ministry that was created to help people who are struggling with [same-sex attraction],” she says to her audience. God’s intention for our sexuality, it is the complementarity, it is heterosexuality, it is a man and a woman. “
Kathryn Alarie responded to the e-mail of our infiltrator with information about a workshop of 18 weeks offered in Montreal in January, at a cost of 495 $. A six-week program focused on the “deep healing” was also offered.
Contacted by our Bureau of investigation, Kathryn Alarie we were sent to a representative of Career Canada, based in Calgary. Graeme Lauber has denied indulging in conversion therapy, claiming rather to offer a choice to some people who want to live their homosexuality ” otherwise “. He explained that his agency provides support to people struggling with all sorts of problems, some of which – like himself- struggling against a same-sex attraction. As for the adolescent program advertised on their site, he told us not to have heard of it.
Isaiah 40 Foundation
The organization Isaiah 40 Foundation, which you can see here the offices in Montreal, is singled out in a report on conversion therapy.
WHO ARE THEY ?
Registered charity with the Canada Revenue agency, Isaiah 40 Foundation has been singled out in the report of the Alliance arc-en-ciel.
On its website, the organization’s anglican – which has a branch in Notre-Dame-de-Grace, and another in Colchester, Vermont – boasts of having in its employment 10 counselors, including psychologists and a massage therapist, who are there to help people ” turn to the help of God “.
One of the advisors of the organization Isaiah 40 Foundation, filmed with a hidden camera, has suggested to our infiltrator that it was possible to change his sexual orientation.
The site does not explicitly speak of conversion therapy, but our research shows that the president of the organization’s self-proclaimed ” ex-gay “. It was announced in 2017 as the host of a training course entitled ” How Christ can heal the homosexual “.
Our infiltrator has obtained two appointments at $ 100 each with a counsellor, ministry of the Isaiah 40 Foundation. During these sessions, she told him that his homosexuality was the result of an “internal crisis” and that with therapy, it could potentially change his sexual orientation. “Is it that I’m fighting for, body and soul to be healed and become heterosexual, or is it that I just try to accept… “, request our infiltrator. “No,” interrupted the therapist. If you are here to say that your desire is to be straight, you gotta do it, otherwise you’re going to be more mixed. “
The director of the Isaiah Foundation, Alex Cameron, has told us that he could not comment on the experience of Philip, because the sessions of therapy are confidential. It has, however, denied engaging in this kind of practice.
“Our organization has never been a ministry of conversion therapy, and none of our therapists is trained in this area,” he wrote to the Bureau of investigation in an e-mail.
Your life your choice
Michel Lizotte, director of the TVTC
WHO ARE THEY ?
Your life, your choice (TVTC) is a corporation in quebec led by the ex-journalist Michel Lizotte.
According to the Register of companies of Quebec, the mandate of TVTC is ” assistance to persons fighting against attraction to the same sex, support for parents having a child with a disorder of sexual identity “. TVTC prides itself on having access to a range of therapists – psychologists, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists – in the service of their customers. On its website, the organization claims that the success rate of conversion therapy is 35 % to 40 %.
Philippe has not obtained a meeting with the representatives, who were more oriented to resources published on their web site. We have, however, met an ex-director of the group, Laurent M. Leclerc, who has confirmed that TVTC coordinates of the therapies of conversion for persons – including minors – who are looking to get rid of their attractions to be gay.
Having himself struggled with his homosexuality for decades, Laurent M. Leclerc concedes that his own conversion therapy has proven to be a failure. He believes, however, that TVTC provides a necessary service. “I think that offering an option to people, it is a good thing. “
Michel Lizotte has not wanted to grant us an interview.
George-Marie Craan (in the premises of the church of New Life)
We see here the church’s New Life in Longueuil.
WHO ARE THEY ?
The church New Life is a mega evangelical church in Longueuil. It has more than 4000 parishioners in the area and told to carry out activities in nearly a dozen countries.
The web site of New Life does not speak of conversion therapy (or homosexuality, in fact), but the services of this church we have been recommended by a representative of Course Canada. Our infiltrator has obtained two appointments at $ 100 each with the psychotherapist certified George-Marie Craan, whose office is located in the premises of this church in Longueuil. A priori, it warns that it is a member of two professional orders that prevent him say what he ” wants to hear. “
The psychotherapist George-Marie Craan said to our infiltrator that he could “unlearn” his attraction to men.
Before the end of the second session, however, she boasts of having helped a client who was “with women” and said that, because Philippe has christian values and he has already attended a woman, it is possible for him to “unlearn” his attraction to men and ” reprogram “. “I could do that, get up and tell myself that I’m hetero ? This is how it works ? ” asked Philippe. The question elicits an enthusiastic reaction. “That, yes, you can, that’s it,” said the psychotherapist. I am a man, and thank you, Lord, because you’re going to give me a wife. “
Nancy Collette, the lawyer of the New church Life, has not wanted to address the position of the church regarding homosexuality, but has categorically denied providing therapies of conversion.
“There is no programme to this effect, there are no remarks in public which are made to know that we are doing the therapies of conversion, there is no advertising either, she said. We are a church, so what we did is that we accompany the people in a spiritual christian. “
The lawyer also said that the therapist had communicated with his or her professional order, who assured him that she had nothing to apologize for in its approach from Philippe.
Finally, she backed out a day later that the psychotherapist had met with our infiltrator in the framework of his private practice, and not in the framework of the activities of the church.
In fact, according to her, if the services of the psychotherapist were provided by the church, they would have been free, so that in this case, Philippe has paid $200.
It should be noted that two meetings have taken place in the premises of New Life.
Pasteur Michael Lebeau
The pasteur Michael Lebeau explains “how to overcome homosexuality” in a video posted online. He tried to deliver our infiltrator of his homosexuality directly to the phone.
WHO ARE THEY ?
Pastor of the church of the Victory in Granby, Michaël Lebeau is also the director of the christian channel EMCI-TV, which features videos entitled How to overcome homosexuality ? and How to be freed from homosexual desires ? to its 200,000 subscribers. The chain and the church are both registered as charities with Revenue Canada. Michael Lebeau is also a practitioner of the “deliverances” for a variety of disorders in Africa, in Europe and in Quebec.
After having exchanged a few emails with our infiltrator, the pastor Lebeau agrees to “deliver” Philip of his homosexuality, live, on the phone. “Satan, you are conquered, the spirit of homosexuality, you are conquered, he says in the device. I release her soul now, he is released from attraction to the men, freed from this lie ! “
Unlike other agencies, Michaël Lebeau has offered its services free of charge.
We confronted Mr. Lebeau to his statements, and he told us not to remember details of his call with Philippe. “I prayed with all my heart for this man” we said. Does he think that homosexuality is a demon ?
“Not especially, it depends on the person, of his past. In fact, a single problem may have several sources “, he explained, adding that he believes that some individuals can be delivered from homosexuality. It has, however, refused to elaborate.
“I know that pastors have fallen into traps, have been accused by lobbies and, therefore, I make the choice not to talk about it. “
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DONATIONS
Several organizations presented in these pages are associated with charities that raise thousands or even millions of dollars in donations eligible for tax credits.
Isaiah 40 Foundation
In the past five years, the Isaiah 40 Foundation has received 434 776 $ in donations eligible for tax credits.
In the past five years, Course Canada has received 2 276 822 $ in donations eligible for tax credits.
New church life
In the past five years, New church Life has received 21 427 486 $ in donations eligible for tax credits.
Pasteur Michael Lebeau
In the past five years, the church of the Victory has received 1 239 911 $ in donations eligible for tax credits.
EMCI-TV has received 430 669 $ for a total of 1 670 580 $.
A therapy which has been devastating according to experts
Gabriel Nadeau and her boyfriend this summer at their first Pride parade in Montreal.
The research on the impact of therapy conversion to confirm that this kind of treatment cause a lot of harm to those who undergo it.
The canadian psychological association is categorically opposed to this kind of treatment.
“This form of therapy is likely to lead to negative outcomes, such as distress, anxiety, depression, negative image of self, a sense of personal failure, of the difficulty of maintaining relationships and sexual dysfunction “, said the agency in a report published in 2015.
For its part, the american Association of psychology considers that these methods are dangerous, and reminds us that they rely on the mistaken notion that homosexuality is a disorder or a deviance.
Psychiatrist and co-director of the Center for sexual orientation at McGill University, Dr. Richard Montoro has often had to treat patients with a history of therapies of conversion.
He explained that the scenarios are similar. The context is usually religious, the community is often rather tight.
“These are parents who bring their children to see the pastor to try to help the child get rid of his desires, or the child himself who said : “I want to be straight. Being gay, this is unacceptable in my community and I don’t want to lose my family, my friends.’ “
Its role places it at the forefront of the after-effects caused by these therapies.
“We see a lot of alcoholism, depression, anxiety, suicide, are there. It’s been a lot of havoc. “
Richard Montoro reminds us that our sexuality is not necessarily fixed, that it can evolve over the life course.
“But to try to change it from the outside, to say, “No, you should be Y instead of X”, it doesn’t work. The studies are pretty conclusive. “
According to Richard Montoro, the groups who engage in this practice because they know that their success rate is virtually zero. When the treatment fails, they give the patient the impression that it is his fault, that it is irreparable or that it does not try hard enough.
Our ability to love and form stable relationships is inextricably linked to our sexuality, ” he explains.
“So, if this central part of our identity is labelled as bad, we can’t feel good. “
Some therapies conversion rule out the possibility of a change of direction and prescribe instead of complete abstinence. Richard Montoro judge that this approach is more realistic, but just as problematic.
“We are all made to have romantic relationships and sex, and try to repress our sexuality, it leads to problems of a psychological nature. “
Very little data
In Canada and in Quebec, there is very little data that allows us to identify the extent of the practice. But our neighbours to the south, a recent study by the research Institute Williams reveals that nearly 700,000 Americans – including 350 000 children have experienced a form of conversion therapy.
These statistics are particularly disturbing for the activist american Alan Chambers. On the one hand, because he was a witness of the harm caused by conversion therapy, but mainly because he is trying to redeem himself. In another life, Alan Chambers has helped to popularize the therapy of conversion to the head of Exodus International, the largest organization of re-orientation of sexual the world.
He left his job in 2013 to become one of the most vocal critics of the practice.
On the phone with our Office of investigation, Alan Chambers describes a process of reflection over the course of several years, which has allowed him to see that his actions were not the will of his God.
“I came to see in the Scriptures that God does not condemn gays and lesbians. “
“When I closed my Exodus and I asked for forgiveness to those who wanted to hear myself well, I was hoping to be able to help people understand that it is possible to deal with this issue differently. “
According to Alan Chambers, the therapeutic communities of every stripe need to have the parameters very clear stating that it is not possible to change sexual orientation.
Of treatments found to be unacceptable
“False hopes,” according to the Order of psychologists
In a public notice on the therapies of conversion issued in November 2012, the Ordre des psychologues du Québec advance the scientific research regarding this practice does not allow to conclude the effectiveness, and that therefore it is contrary to the ethics of presenting this type of intervention as a track of a viable solution.
“Not only is this not proven, but it could raise false hopes and be a source of greater distress to the predictable failure of this treatment,” the report concludes.
Not recommended by the department
A representative of the ministry of Education has written to us that the government does not recommend “in any case” the conversion therapy. The spokesperson explained that each school is legally obliged to
develop a plan of action to combat intimidation and violence, and that this plan must address ” any form of intimidation or violence motivated, in particular, by the racism, sexual orientation, gender identity, homophobia, a handicap or a physical characteristic “.
The minister is ” very concerned “
In response to questions from our Office to inquiry about the fact that many of these organizations are recognized as charitable organizations and their donors receive tax credits, a spokesperson for the Canada revenue Agency, we simply sent a definition of what is a charity.
“According to the courts, the purposes of a charity must confer a benefit to the public,” she wrote, adding that these agencies are required not to break the law or go against human rights.
The minister of national Revenue Diane Lebouthillier we later wrote that she was “very concerned” to learn that individuals and organizations trying always to cure homosexuality in the country.
“Any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is simply unacceptable,” she said.