Tag Archives: Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy continues for lesbians in India

L2L India

On June 12, a 22-year-old lesbian student from Kochi sat in a doctor’s office as her life choices were being dissected. She was taken to a hospital by her parents without her consent. A doctor from the reputed hospital offered to ‘change’ her sexual orientation by admitting her, offering medication and counselling. In other words, we are speaking about another instance of conversion therapy. The practice caught our attention again in March when Anjana Harish, a 21-year-old student committed suicide in Goa after being mentally and physically tortured at a ‘de-addiction centre’ in Palakkad where she was taken against her will by her family.

Dhanya Ravindran, a board member of Queerala, an LGBTQIA+ community in Kerala, who is acquainted with the woman says, “My friend was taken by her family to get ‘treatment’. Even after Anjana’s case, where a child’s life was lost due to something like this, the doctor asked to admit her there. They promised to help the parents by offering counselling and asked her to get admitted there. They also wanted to check if she had any physical issues. She did not agree. When we inquired further, we also found that the doctor who claimed to be a psychiatrist was actually a psychologist.”

In 2018, when the Supreme Court decriminalised Section 377, the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) disavowed conversion therapy and released a statement completely discrediting the practice. According to Om Prakash Singh, Editor of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry at the West Bengal Medical Education Service, “We have given a statement strictly criticising this. And since homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder, there is no question of conversion or any kind of treatment for that. Secondly, even if an organisation is offering such a thing, it is not going to work. They are basically deceiving people. Medication could not possibly alter your sexual orientation.”

After Anjana’s suicide became public and the video was available online, Queerala sent it to the Indian Psychiatric Society’s Kerala Chapter and organised a consultation with them in February. After being informed, they released a statement about their position against conversion therapy. At the same time, they also sent a complaint to the Kerala State Mental Health Authority from whom they are yet to receive a response. As the next step, the organisation plans to submit a writ petition to the Kerala High Court. During the incident that occured on June 12, the girl was able to record the 30-minute long conversation that she had with her parents and the doctor. Here are excerpts from the conversation that Queerala has shared with us:

Continue reading at: https://www.edexlive.com/happening/2020/jun/26/the-horrors-of-conversion-therapy-for-queer-folk-kerala-doctor-assures-family-of-changing-girls-12912.html (Source)

Aram Bolandpaz: a lesbian TV reporter fighting for her community in Iran

Aram_Bolandpaz

By Aram Bolandpaz

To be an openly proud member of the LGBT+ community working as a journalist and presenter is a unique opportunity.

It has enabled me to report on the issues I care about the most. My work primarily focuses on human rights and edgy stories. That includes reporting on LGBT+ life inside Iran and the experiences of the LGBT+ community more broadly in the Middle East.

You see, LGBT+ rights in Iran have come into conflict with the Iranian penal code since the 1930s.

Post-revolutionary Iran forbids any type of sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage. Moreover same-sex sexual activities are punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or execution.

In the Middle East, Iran is one of five countries to punish same-sex relations by the death penalty. The others are Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and Sudan.

When it comes to the lesbian and bisexual community inside Iran, the punishment for same-sex conduct starts with lashes. But on the fourth ‘offence’ the court can give the death penalty.

Continue reading at: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/how-this-lesbian-tv-reporter-uses-journalism-to-fight-for-the-lgbt-community-in-iran/ (Source)

Equatorial Guinea: Lesbians raped and impregnated to “cure” them

Equatorial Guinea

The terrible torture of lesbians in Equatorial Guinea: families order them to be repeatedly raped and made pregnant

Homosexual women suffer double discrimination, because of their gender and the group to which they belong. Furthermore, in Equatorial Guinea they are brutally tortured by their own families.

Melibea Obono is a writer, politician and lesbian which is a stigma in her country, Equatorial Guinea: “In Guinea a person who is homosexual is not considered a person.”

This group not only receives the rejection of the whole society, but in this former Spanish colony they suffer all kinds of torture. If you are a woman, there is an additional horrifying factor: you are forced to become pregnant with the aim of being “cured” of your homosexuality.

“If you don’t do this, the family brings a man to rape her at home,” explains Obono, adding: “So if in the first pregnancy she isn’t cured, they go for the second child. If in the second pregnancy she isn’t cured, then for the third. When the time comes that she continues to have sons and daughters and is not cured, they throw both lesbians and their offspring into the streets.”
(Translated)

La terribles torturas a las lesbianas en Guinea Ecuatorial: las familias ordenan que las violen y embaracen repetidamente
Las mujeres homosexuales sufren una doble discriminación, por su género y por el colectivo al que pertenecen. Además, en Guinea Ecuatorial son brutalmente torturadas por sus propias familias.

Melibea Obono es escritora, polítologa y lesbiana, un estigma en su país, Guinea Ecuatorial: “En Guinea una persona que es homosexual no es considerada una persona”.

Este colectivo no sólo recibe el rechazo de toda la sociedad, sino que las personas del colectivo de esta antigua colonia española sufren todo tipo de torturas. Si se es mujer, con un agravante: son obligadas a quedarse embarazadas con el objetivo de que se “curen” de su homosexualidad.

“Si no hace esto, la familia trae un hombre y la viola en casa”, explica Obono, y añade: “Entonces si en el primer embarazo no se cura, tiene que ir a por el segundo. Si en el segundo no se cura, a por el tercero, y cuando llega el momento de que sigue teniendo hijos, hijas y no se cura, echan a la calle tanto a la homosexual como a su descendencia”.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://www.antena3.com/noticias/mundo/la-terribles-torturas-a-las-lesbianas-en-guinea-ecuatorial-las-familias-ordenan-que-las-violen-y-embaracen-repetidamente_202002295e5adf430cf20bdcde34305c.html (Source)

U.S.: Catholic church counselling in spotlight after suicide of young lesbian

Alana Chen

Like many teenagers, Alana Chen was sometimes not where she’d told her parents she was going. But while other teens were sneaking out to parties, Chen would tell her parents she was going out with friends and instead take the bus from her family’s home in the suburbs of Boulder, Colorado, to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church downtown.

Chen was holding on to other secrets as well. Without her parents’ knowledge, Chen’s family says, she was receiving spiritual guidance from a priest at St. Thomas Aquinas, who told her that there was something she could never tell her family: She was a lesbian.

Chen struggled for many years to keep this secret, according to her family, and tried to follow the church’s teachings. But repressing her sexuality led to serious mental health problems that caused her to be hospitalized in 2016, Chen told The Denver Post last year.

Chen eventually left the church, feeling it was impossible to reconcile her sexual orientation and her Catholicism. In early 2019, she went away to Prescott College, in Arizona, to be farther away from St. Thomas Aquinas.

She seemed to be doing better, but on Dec. 7, while on a visit home, Chen, 24, was declared missing. After a search, her body was found at Gross Reservoir in Boulder County on Dec. 9. The Boulder County Coroner’s Office has ruled her death a suicide.

Chen’s death has focused attention on how religious institutions handle the question of sexuality in their counseling, especially when the counselor’s faith teaches that homosexuality is wrong or sinful. Last year, Colorado banned gay conversion therapy for minors. That ban, however, exempts religious counselors.

That’s something Chen’s mother and sister want to see changed. They believe the religious counseling Chen received contributed to her death.

Since her passing, Chen’s family said, nobody from the Denver Archdiocese has reached out directly to them. (Haas said this is because it did not believe that contact would be welcome.) Her funeral was held at a local Episcopal parish.

“People will say different things about her suicide and how that came to be,” Carissa Chen said. “I think the church played a huge role in the years of trauma and treatment that she went through and ultimately her suicide, and they’re just going to have to live with that. We all will now.”

Continue reading at: https://religionnews.com/2020/01/29/a-young-womans-suicide-puts-focus-on-churchs-counseling-for-lgbt-catholics/ (Source)

The Alana Faith Chen foundation: https://alanafaithchen.org/

Chile: Lesbian conversion therapy as a child

Chile lesbians

By Camila Toro Aguirre

In spite of the historical advances that the movement for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community has achieved, conversion therapies are still practiced behind the walls of numerous psychological providers in Chile.
A pseudoscientific method that seeks to “cure homosexuality” psychologically, limiting and repressing any type of sexual orientation that does not conform to heterosexuality.
However, it is proven that there is nothing good in these treatments. According to the World Psychiatric Association, those who attend these therapies often “develop addictions, suicidal tendencies, sexual disorders and depression.”
In Chile in the 2000s, Carmina Vásquez, an accomplished lawyer from the University of Chile and a member of the Lesbofeminist Network in support of the LGBTIQ + community, attended conversion therapy for the first time when she was only 14 years old.
(Translated)

A pesar de los históricos avances que ha logrado el movimiento por los derechos de la comunidad LGBTIQ+, detrás de las paredes de numerosas consultas psicológicas de Chile todavía se practican las terapias de reconversión sexual.
Un método pseudocientífico que desde la psicología busca “curar la homosexualidad”, limitando y reprimiendo cualquier tipo de orientación sexual que no se ajuste a la heteronorma.
Sin embargo, está demostrado que no hay nada de bueno en estos tratamientos. Según la Asociación Mundial de Psiquiatría, quienes asisten a estas terapias suelen “generar adicciones, tendencias suicidas, trastornos sexuales y depresión”.
En un Chile de los 2000, Carmina Vásquez, una realizada abogada de la Universidad de Chile e integrante de la Red Lesbofeminista en apoyo a la comunidad LGBTIQ+, asistió por primera vez a una terapia de reconversión sexual cuando sólo tenía 14 años.
(Original)

Continue reading at: https://m.elmostrador.cl/braga/2019/07/24/lesbianismo-el-amor-no-se-cura/ (Source)

Lesbians march against stigma and discrimination in Guadalajara, Mexico

lesbians-march-in-guadalajara.png

Lesbian march in Guadalajara (Fernando Carranza).

In Guadalajara, more than one hundred women participated in the IX Gay Lesbian March. … To the rhythm of “we do not want males to kill us” and “my body is mine and I decide”, women demanded that they be accepted with the sexual orientation they chose.
(Translated)

En Guadalajara, más de cien mujeres participaron en la IX Marcha Lésbico Gay. … Al ritmo de “no queremos machos que nos asesinen” y “mi cuerpo es mío y yo decido”, las mujeres exigen que se les acepte con la orientación sexual que eligieron.
(Original)

Contine reading at: https://www.milenio.com/politica/comunidad/realizan-marcha-lesbico-gay-en-guadalajara (Source)

Report released into new sexual coercion of lesbians

By Angela C Wild
Get the L Out UK

Lesbians at Ground Zero

“The consequence of systematic lesbian erasure, combined with the male centred politics of the LGBT, is a constant invasion: invasion of lesbian spaces and invasion of the lesbian body as the ultimate women-only space, leading to the destruction of those spaces and the consequent destruction of lesbianism.

While experiences of sexual violence were reported by women from every age group, the younger 18-24 age group seemed to be particularly targeted. The sexual violence experiences reported by respondents range from coercion, online grooming, sexual harassment and assault to rape by deception or with physical force. Perpetrators have used queer theory mixed with guilt-tripping to pressure, justify or excuse sexual violence.”

Continue reading at: Lesbians at Ground Zero link  (Source)

Lesbians in the News – 14 November 2015

Lesbians in the News 14 November 2015

Young lesbian couple found murdered

Tatianna Diz and Alexandra King

Tatianna Diz and Alexandra King

Searchers recovered the bodies of Alexandra King, 22, and Tatianna Diz, 20, from the French Broad River in Ashville, North Carolina. The couple had gone missing on October 27th after giving Pierre Lamont Griffin II a ride to a nearby apartment complex. Griffin was later arrested and charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony first-degree murder, and reckless driving and fleeing to elude arrest in the murder of another man earlier in the evening. Griffin was initially considered a suspect in the couple’s murder, and has subsequently been charged with murder over their deaths.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Help make season 2 of The Lesbian Collective a reality by donating to their Kickstarter campaign. The Lavender Collective is a web-based comedy about a group of lesbians that meet up every week to talk stuff out.
  • Domestic violence organization, Safe Horizon, presented an all-female reading of Shakespeare’s Othello, titled “An Evening with Desdemona and Emilia,” on October 27th. The reading included out lesbian performer and playwright Lisa Kron and LGBT activist StaceyAnn Chin.
  • Nigerian director Elizabeth Funke Obisanya took away the best short film prize for her movie “Magda’s Lesbian Lover” at the Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) awards ceremony in London.

Laws, Politics and Policies

Social and Health Issues

  • Lesbian couples discuss the issues and difficulties they face when trying to conceive.
  • The first same-sex marriage certificate in Tokyo was issued to a lesbian couple on November 5th. While their certificate only applies to two wards at this time, many see it as an important first step towards full marriage equality in historically conservative Japan.
  • A study of 7,200 young adults from England found that LBG teenagers are twice as likely to be bullied and socially excluded at school, than their straight peers.
  • A new study out of the University of Essex is claiming that women are either bisexual or lesbian, and never straight. Among other things, the researchers are trying “to test the theory that because lesbians can be more masculine in many of their non-sexual behaviours (for example, the way they dress), they are also more masculine in their sexual responses.” Anyone else questioning the motivations and conclusions of this study?
  • A Change.org petition has been started to take the L out of LGBT. Petitioners are arguing that LGBT organizations are not only prioritizing T over L, but also “actively discriminate against L interests.”
  • The Mormon Church has announced that children of same-sex couples will be denied entry into the church until they are 18 years old, move out of their parents’ home and disavow all same-sex relationships. This announcement came soon after Salt Lake City elected its first lesbian mayor on November 11th.
  • The Curacao Tourist Board wants to welcome gay and lesbian travelers to experience the island’s ‘live and let live’ atmosphere.
  • With lesbian visibility an ever present issue, do we have language specific to lesbian communities or an archetypal “lesbian voice”? What lesbian specific language  do you see, and is it location specific?

Events

  • Aussie movie All About E arrives for a screening in NYC on December 2nd. Described as a “crime caper with strong lesbian characters,” it will also be released by Wolfe on DVD on December 1st.
  • The Lambda Literary Foundation is accepting applications for the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices to be held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles beginning July 24, 2016. Applications are due by January 5, 2016.

Thanks to Lisa for compiling this fortnightly edition of Lesbians in the News.

If you have any other stories, please add them in the comments or email them to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 28/03/2015

Lesbians in the news

22/03/2015 – 28/03/2015

Lesbians in China – #FreeTheFive:

Xiao La and Maizi

Xiao La and Maizi, image courtesy of Amnesty International

Li Maizi, formally known as Li Tingting, was arrested for “causing arguments in the street” in the leadup to International Women’s Day. Her girlfriend, pictured with her above, is calling for help through All Out:

My name is Xiao La, and I live in China. Two weeks ago, Maizi was organizing a peaceful protest with four friends to denounce harassment at work. They were making pro-equality stickers and planning to hand them out. And just for that, Chinese authorities put my girlfriend in jail.

My birthday is today. Maizi and I had planned to spend the day together doing romantic things. My birthday wish is to have Maizi back. Alone, I won’t be heard. But if thousands around the world join us, the global outcry could get her out of jail.

Can you sign my petition to help free my girlfriend and her friends? go.allout.org/en/a/freethefive/

Maizi and I were taken by the police together, but I was freed the following day. Authorities can now hold her for up to 37 days before deciding whether to even charge her. The authorities confiscated her computer and her phone. The worst part? It happened the night before International Women’s Day.

News articles on the detention:


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

  • The Brutality of Corrective Rape – South Africa’s progressive laws give no indication of the deep homophobia still dominant within the country, according to this New York Times article. The endemic violence against women couples with the homophobia to result in virulent lesbophobia and, more specifically, corrective rape. Whether it is based on male sexual entitlement or a so called desire to change their sexuality, these South African women talk of being subjected to socially sanctioned and repeated rape. Women are murdered and women have resulting children withheld because of their sexuality.
  • A violent attack on two lesbians in Vancouver is deemed not a hate crime.
  • Homophobia fears keep violence victims quiet – the multiple silencing of same sex domestic violence that prevents victims seeking or receiving help. What can we do as a community to better address the needs of victims? (Note: this story has some Australian DV assistance links).

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

Laws and Policies:

Representation:

  • Victoria Brownworth’s new novel Ordinary Mayhem is released, focussing on violence against women. Victoria Brownworth’s next book Lesbian Erasure: Silencing Lesbians will be released in late 2015. She says of the novel:”For the past several years I have been increasingly concerned by the obliteration of lesbians as a group by mainstream culture, mainstream feminism and regrettably, even by our own community,” she said. “Major online publications like Slate and Salon conflate lesbian into gay, as if lesbians and gay men don’t have separate identities. And increasingly there is also a revision of butch lesbians as trans men when that is rarely the case—that makes both butch lesbians and trans men invisible. Not all trans men were lesbians, not all butch lesbians are closet trans men. Let each have their distinct identities.””Corrective rape was invented specifically to teach lesbians a lesson about heterosexual normatively. While it’s most common in South Africa, India and Jamaica, it also happen in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. There are 78 countries where it is illegal to be lesbian or gay—specifically. Lesbians are the victims of honor killings in a dozen countries. The forced marriages of lesbians to men happens in several dozen countries. These are some of the things I write about in Erasure.”
  • NSW, Australia – election candidates answer LGBTI questions – watch the footage here.
  • Herstory: same sex marriage 200 years ago – busting the myth of tradition?
  •  Heather has Two Mommies – kids book about same sex families is now updated with same sex marriage
  • The so-called ‘pink dollar’ or ‘gay-by boom’ – local economies see the benefit in appealing to LGBT tourism. I wonder though, does this actually result in better protections and social conditions for local communities?

Social and Health Issues:

Victoria, Australia held its first Lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s Conference.

Keynote speaker Dr Ruth McNair (from the Australian Lesbian Medical Association) argued that “a conference focusing specifically on women’s health in the community is needed in part because of a history of lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health being overlooked in funding, policy and LGBTI community services.”

The ALICE study on Alcohol and Lesbian/bisexual women: Insights into Culture and Emotions reported high levels of depression and anxiety, with social stressors (oppression, discrimination and homophobia) closely linked to depression and anxiety rates, drinking levels and self harm and suicidal thoughts.

Other social and health issue stories:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.