Conversion or sexual reorientation therapies are a set of treatments used to try to change the sexual orientation of a homosexual person or to change a trans person into a “cis-gender” individual ( Term to learn in 2020 folks: a Cis person is a person who will not change gender or/and sex, unlike trans people who belong to a gender that does not correspond to their birth gender.)
It goes without saying that these practices deny the existence of identities and sexualities other than the usual « Heterosexual Man-Woman. »
These therapies also reflect the widespread belief that homosexuality is a “disease”. Removed from psychic diseases less than 40 years ago in France, homosexuality and transidentity are realities, not curable conditions.
Believe it or not: the World Health Organization did not remove homosexuality from their «Classification of mental illnesses» until 1992.
Fortunately in 2015, the United Nations (UN) voted against conversion therapies, which were acknowledged as “undignified treatment of LGBTQI people.” (News.un.org, June 1, 2015).
Yet few countries have banned these therapies: only Brazil (1999), Samoa (2007), Argentina (2010), Fiji (2010), some US and Canadian states, Ecuador and China (2014). They are legal in France and only prohibited to minors in Germany.
In the United States, where these practices are legal in 41 states, these centres are often affiliated with religious communities. Young people «supposedly» gay are sent to learn to be « good little straight people ».
Such practices exist in many countries around the world. Whether it is prayers or rituals to perform, a change of diet or physical abuse (corporal punishment, electrocution, etc.) it is obvious that these practices are serious violations of the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community.
Extremely detrimental to individuals, this kind of treatments put into the minds and hearts of queers the idea that their sexuality and identity are “evil” and require “care.” These conversions create obvious moral harm to the victims of these homophobic and transphone charlatans, when they are not also the victims of physical and sexual violence.
For a reality check, in June 2019, it was estimated that approximately 700,000 LGBTGI adults had undergone conversion therapies in the US.
( Williams Institute Study: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Conversion-Therapy-Update-Jun-2019.pdf)
If you have undergone conversion therapy, tell us your story. The reality is that, under the guise of assistance that may come from a loved family member, these practices are an expression of homophobia and transphobia.
Instead, we need therapies to treat practitioners who use this kind of treatments which are contrary to fundamental rights. And special care should be provided to the souls who have been deeply hurt by these inhumane practices.
If you have witnessed or undergone conversion therapy, write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Céline Vauléon, French legal advisor at the French Victim’s service Ministery of Justice. Co-founder and Présidente of the eLLe’s association.