Homosexual conversion therapy

TVNZ’s Sunday had an item on what is commonly referred to as gay conversion therapy in New Zealand. Mostly religious groups offer therapy that claims or implies people can be taught not to be homosexual.

Usual religious coercions like promising heaven for complying and threatening hell if the ‘sinning’ continues are used.

TVNZ: ‘Pray the gay away’ – Homosexual conversion therapy happening in NZ

Therapy is being offered to “cure” people who find themselves attracted to the same sex, where their attraction is contrary to their own religious beliefs.

TVNZ’s Sunday programme spoke with three gay men about the conversion therapy they’ve been through.

Undercover footage of this therapy, or “spiritual healing”, or “praying the gay away”, shows the claims being made about its potential to cure same sex attraction.

One therapist says: “Your attraction can absolutely be changed. We need to rewire your brain, and it is completely doable.”

Another therapist who Sunday spoke to undercover claims: “No one is born that way and so if that’s the case, it must be possible to change. Alcoholics change, thieves change, all sorts of people change.”

Of course once you’re dead there’s not much chance of complaining for being given false expectations or hopes.

But there’s a real chance of hellish suffering from guilt and failure while homosexuals are subjected to psychological mistreatment while they are alive.

It’s difficult to appreciate what it’s like for a homosexual person living in a disapproving environment, especially a religious one.

I think the best way of understanding what it might be like being a homosexual subject to conversion therapy is to imagine what it might be like as a heterosexual being given coercive therapy to turn you homosexual.

Or in the context of a political blog, as a right winger try to imagine what it might be like getting therapy that tries to convert you into a leftie, or as a left winger try to imagine a conversion to the right.

I’m neither so I can imagine what it would be like getting therapy for converting me to a fixed political belief (shudder).

It is unlikely to feel anywhere near as much as what homosexuals must experience, but trying to convert an innate sexuality must really risk causing severe difficulties for the subject (one of those interviewed came out of therapy and attempted suicide).