What is Gay Conversion Therapy?

  • 01 Jan 2023
  • General

No one should be told that their identity is something that can be healed. But many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people believe that sexual orientation or gender identity is something that can be treated. But trying to treat these orientations with conversion therapy is both harmful and dangerous.

What is Conversion Therapy?

Conversion therapy is a therapy used to "heal" or "repair" a person's same-sex interest or gender identity. Providers claim one of these therapies is heterosexual. However, there is no evidence to support this.

The therapy in question is rejected by medical and mental health professionals as it is dangerous and discriminatory. In addition to being useless, it can also cause various harms.

The situations that can cause it are as follows:

What Treatments Does it Include?

Conversion therapy includes the following treatments:

  • PsychotherapySpeech therapy is the most widely used treatment. But providers may also try behavioral, interpersonal, or cognitive therapies. Some teach stereotypical masculine and feminine behaviors. Sometimes he also tries to change his thought patterns towards same-sex attraction using hypnosis. Another widely used method is disgust therapy. In this practice, people are exposed to painful or uncomfortable sensations with drugs that cause electric shock, nausea or paralysis. This treatment is done in hopes of forming a negative association with the person's attractiveness or identity.
  • Medical: This method of treatment includes drug, hormone or steroid treatments. In extreme cases, gender-affirming surgeries are performed to neutralize sexual orientation.
  • Faith-based: In some religious practices, homosexuality and other gender expression are sometimes viewed as bad. Conversion therapy is sometimes performed by clergy or other spiritual counselors. This treatment may include anti-gay insults and prayers. In severe cases, it can include beating, chaining, deprivation of food, and even exorcism.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed the term "gender identity disorder" from its diagnostic guidelines. The APA now calls conversion therapy techniques "sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE)" or "gender identity reassignment efforts (GICE)".

Terms have been coined to distinguish it from evidence-based forms of therapy. But providers, who are often unlicensed, can hide the terms they often use to avoid being found. These terms are as follows:

  • Addressing sexual addiction and disorders
  • Discovery of fluidity of sexual attraction in therapy (SAFE-T)
  • Healing sexual breakage
  • Sexuality counseling
  • Eliminating or reducing the frequency or intensity of unwanted homosexual attraction (SSA)
  • Restorative therapy
  • Promoting relational and sexual integrity
  • Sexual orientation efforts
  • Promoting healthy sexuality

What are the Harms of Conversion Therapy?

Conversion therapy techniques can lead to feeling less or damaged, which affects self-esteem. This can take a significant toll on your emotional and physical health. This is why a number of medical and mental health organizations have issued public statements rejecting the use of conversion therapy. Also, many providers who claim to be qualified to provide conversion therapy are generally not licensed mental health practitioners or medical professionals.

One study found that LGBTQ people who have been rejected or discriminated against:

  • 8 times more likely to attempt suicide
  • Almost 6 times more likely to have high levels of depression
  • 3 times more likely to use illegal drugs
  • It states that the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is 3 times higher.

Which Places Ban Conversion Therapy?

So far, 19 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have banned or limited the use of conversion therapy, especially for youth under the age of 18.

These states are as follows:

  • California
  • Maine
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • New Mexico
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
  • Nevada
  • Virginia
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Utah

Globally; There are some prohibitions or regulations against licensed mental health professionals who practice conversion therapy in about 13 countries, including Brazil, Norway, Argentina and Germany.

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