Inside the hidden world of gay conversion therapy

transgendered teen

  1. ‘I am profoundly unsettled’: inside the hidden world of gay conversion therapy 

    “It’s been 25 years since I realised I was gay, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m questioning why.”

    Gay conversion, an umbrella term for a range of approaches designed to change or suppress a person’s orientation or gender identity, was banned in California for minors in 2012, followed by eight other states, but is still legal in 41 American states.

    Gay conversion is also opposed by the United Nations, the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Medical Association, and numerous other professional health and human rights bodies. Yet, according to a recent study, an estimated 20,000 LGBTI youths aged between 13 and 17 will undergo conversion therapy with a licensed health-care professional before they turn 18.

    “Gay Conversion” practices are hidden in evangelical churches and ministries, taking the form of exorcisms, prayer groups or counselling disguised as pastoral care.

    They’re also present in some religious schools or practised in the private offices of health professionals.

    They’re pushed out through a thriving network of courses and mentors in the borderless world of cyberspace, cloaked in the terminology of “self improvement” or “spiritual healing”.

    Many gay conversion groups believe they are doing the right thing: helping people who seek support to live in accordance with their faith and values. But are they doing more harm than good?

    Some groups have changed their message over the years focusing less on changing sexual orientation than on suppressing it through celibacy, while others insist their work should not be classified as conversion or “ex-gay” practice at all.

    More at  Stuff.co.nz