A comprehensive study on gay conversion therapy has revealed the full extent of the practice in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian report, ‘Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Responding to LGBT Conversion Therapy in Australia’ chronicles the experiences of 15 LGBT+ people who have been subjected to the harmful practice.
The report found that up to 10% of LGBT+ Australians are at risk of being subjected to gay conversion therapy, which can at times, amount to physical torture.
One respondent of the survey, Mary, underwent conversion therapy in the ‘80s. She was chained to her bed and had electrodes placed on her genitals. Mary was also forced to bathe in ice-water while her body was prayed over.
The practice of gay conversion therapy has been completely disavowed by a number of medical organisations, including the NHS, the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The three medical bodies released a statement in 2014, which labelled the practice as “potentially harmful” and “unethical”.
Dr Tim Jones, the senior lecturer at La Trobe University spoke about the importance of the findings:
“Our research has shown that LGBT conversion therapy remains a real problem in Australian religious communities.
“We hope that these communities will receive the report, reflect on the damage it exposes and work towards ending those harms for their LGBT members.
“The report reveals the immense trauma and grief participants felt at the prospect of having to choose between their faith and their gender and sexuality, both intimate and important parts of themselves.”
The Australian report urges legislators to ban gay conversion therapy.
Around the world, LGBT+ activists have called for the pseudoscientific practice to be banned. In the US, 13 states have legislated to protect minors from conversion therapy. Across the country, provisional legislation to outwardly ban the practice is being proposed by LGBT+ campaigners.
Recently, up to 60,000 people in Canada have signed a petition calling for the practice to be banned.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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