This year could prove a turning point in banning so-called ‘gay cures’ or ‘conversion therapy’ around the world.
At least 10 countries are currently considering nationwide bans.
However, at the same time, religious extremists and quack therapists continue to try to make LGBT+ people cisgender and straight. And the ‘cures’ often involve torturing people and can do serious, lasting damage.
That’s according to a major new report on ‘conversion therapy’ by international LGBT+ organization ILGA World.
The report out today details some of the gruesome ‘treatments’ still applied.
But it points out that respected psychiatric and psychological organizations around the world have spoken out against the ‘therapies’.
Please note: Survivors of attempted ‘cures’ may find some details distressing
What is ‘conversion therapy’?
The report explains how therapists and religious groups have tried a range of ways to turn LGBT+ people cisgender and straight.
These have included medical experimentation, lobotomy, castration, giving electric shocks and chemicals and much more.
Even now, people kidnap children and adolescents to and keep them in camps to ‘cure’ their sexuality or gender identity.
Once there they force them to undergo ‘exorcisms’ or electroshock ‘therapies’. They even make some act out hitting their parents to vent their ‘anger’ at being LGBT+.
The treatments do not ‘work’ and often involve torture.
Survivors are often so traumatized they live miserable, self-loathing lives. Some even commit suicide.
Lucas Ramón Mendos, senior research officer at ILGA World and author of the report, says:
‘Today, the main driving forces behind these harmful practices are religious leaders and prejudice. Many have ended up seeking “conversion therapy: for themselves as they perceived their sexual orientation and gender identity in conflict with their religion.’
Hope for change in 2020
However, while the vast majority of countries still allow ‘gay cures’, ILGA says there is some hope in 2020.
Julia Ehrt, director of programs at ILGA World, explains: ‘Bills to restrict these ill-informed practices have been introduced in national legislative bodies in at least 10 countries.
‘Six court cases worldwide were litigated with positive results. State officials and governmental agencies are speaking up, together with human rights bodies.
‘And, to date, more than 60 health professional associations in 20 countries have repudiated efforts to ‘change’ a person’s gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.’
Progress in ending the harmful ‘therapies’ so far includes:
- Brazil, Ecuador and Malta have nationwide laws to ban ‘conversion therapies’.
- Parts of Canada (three provinces and several cities), Spain (five regions) and the United States of America (19 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and numerous cities and counties) have also enacted bans.
- In Argentina, Uruguay, Fiji, Nauru and Samoa mental health laws act as indirect bans.
- 10 countries have introduced bills in national legislative bodies which would ban LGBT+ ‘cures’.
- The World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization , the World Medical Association, World Psychiatric Association and many more are now against ‘conversion therapies’.
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Author: Tris Reid-Smith