Conversion therapy victim: “It destroys mental health”

This content was published on June 19, 2022 – 07:41

William Garrido

Edinburgh (UK) Jun 19 (EFE).- Attempting to change gender identity and sexuality with therapy “doesn’t work” and only “destroys mental health and self-esteem,” admits Efe Blair Anderson, a victim of several practices that Scotland is now seeking to ban.

Anderson, 23 and who defines himself as homosexual, recounts the suffering he endured as a teenager. Many “keep their true identity a secret” and fight it, but in the end “you can’t change who a person is,” he said.

The young man’s experience coincided with a warning that has been issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR). There are “many practices and methods” that try to force “a change from homosexual to heterosexual and from transgender to cisgender”, but “there is no solid scientific evidence” that these mutations are possible, the agency has confirmed.

At times, these practices cause deep distress to those who suffer from them. Richard Edwards, another survivor, confines himself to qualifying for treatment which he targets as a “despicable practice”, but says he cannot relate his entire experience to EFE.

SOME FORMS OF THERAPY

The forms that these practices can take are as varied as the number of those affected by them. In Anderson’s case, motivation is related to religion.

The young man recounted how his parents forced him to pray with them to stop being homosexual, an experience he remembers as “traumatic”.

To them, “the LGTBI+ community is morally unacceptable, sinful,” continued Anderson, who recounted that attempts to change his sexuality caused him “depression, anxiety, panic attacks and eating disorders”, as well as “self-harm and suicidal thoughts. ” with 15 years.

The LGTBI+ community defends the “unqualified ban” of conversion therapy, which covers not only homosexuals but transsexuals as well.

The law should cover “the whole of society, because being LGTBI+ is, obviously, not a disease that needs to be cured,” Anderson thought.

The British Psychological Society’s director of sexuality, Adam Jowett, stressed the Scottish parliament’s report on the importance of including transsexuals.

“Conversion therapists make no difference and apply the same methods,” the doctor said.

Insufficient LAW

Scotland’s existing laws against this “horrific practice” are “insufficient”, says a report by the UK’s autonomous Parliament.

The vice president of the commission that studies legislative measures to protect victims, Green deputy Maggie Chapman, stressed to Efe the need for “complete” regulations covering “sexuality and gender identity” and avoiding legal loopholes.

According to the United Nations, more than half (51%) of this practice worldwide takes place in the context of religious organizations, an aspect also included in the Scottish parliament report, which drew attention to the “importance” of faith for many. victim.

Chapman stressed that plans to protect them should promote “honest conversations with family and religious leaders.”

“This is not about criminalizing religion,” said the deputy, who stressed that conversion therapy also occurs in other family and medical settings.

CRITICISM OF THE SCOPE OF THE LAW

Piers Shepherd, spokesman for the nonprofit Family Education Trust, which aspires to address “the causes and consequences of family separation” from a space “without political or religious affiliation”, defending before Efe “the right of parents to educate their children according to with their morals and beliefs.

Shepherd opposed the legislative initiative, recalling “it interferes with the education of parents of their children” and “imposes certain visions of gender and sexuality.”

“How will you ensure that it is possible to go to the parish priest for support, guidance or prayer?” asked the director of the British Evangelical Alliance, Peter Lynas.

The evangelical leader stressed that “everything violent and coercive should be banned, but it is also necessary to create space for religious freedom.” EFE

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