“My parents took me to a Catholic church, where they gave me hours of exorcism, and eventually asked me if I was still gay.”
This is how Dane recalls her traumatic experience in “homosexual treatment”, the process of trying to change her sexual orientation or gender identity.
“They threw ashes at me and told me my spirit was marked and I needed to clean it up,” says the 29-year-old Colombian.
Many in the LGBT + community are forced to take part in so-called alternative therapies, which are still practiced in many countries, including banned countries.
Dane says her parents “brought her out” when she became known by the male name she was given at birth, when she did not know what a homosexual was at the age of 11.
In an interview with BBC Mundo, he told BBC Mundo, “I only know that I like other children and want things that are different from what my brothers want.”
“They overheard a conversation I was having with a friend, and they interrupted us, and then they started asking a lot of questions,” he continues.
After confirming that their son was gay, Danny’s parents began searching for information on the matter and consulting with various experts.
“I was told that my hormone load was too low and that I should take pills to increase my testosterone levels, or that my mother had ruined me,” he said. Maybe I was rapedAlthough it never happened, “he says.
After rejecting many hypotheses, his parents finally came up with a series of “sexual correction processes” through religion and spirituality.
It was a Christian psychologist who initially provided them with information about these practices.
They did not understand very well what the treatments were, but they accepted the “help”, which is where Dane’s sacrifice began.
16 years old then.
He says that one day his parents asked him to come with them to work.
He was surprised when they stopped in front of a church because his family was “never Catholic.”
When she enters, she realizes that she did not come with them, but tells them that they are taking her for an unexpected purpose.
“The pastors already knew about me and they took me to the preaching They started praying for me And to the other people who were there, “he says.
“I saw how others would touch my head and go back. Then they would try to grab my head, but I didn’t feel like going anywhere. It was so weird.”
“Then they asked me If he is still gay And if the spirit left my body. “
That first “treatment” lasted more than an hour.
She recalled that the session had made her very tired and that they had explained why “spirits healed her body and cast out demons”.
“It’s like brainwashing. In the end you believe there’s something bad inside of you and they’re cleaning up something for you,” he explains.
Finally he decided to tell them he was not gay.
“I lied to get out of there. If I said I was still gay, I knew that sacrifice would last a long time,” he adds, making sure that the nerves, anxiety and pressure of all the people praying around him did not leave him. Another option ..
After they got home, no one talked about it. But “obviously I was still weird,” he says.
He then assures her that he knows nothing about human rights, that he has no teacher’s support at school, and that he does not have the tools to say that what his parents are doing is wrong.
All of these triggered depressive symptoms and several suicide attempts.
“Alternative therapy” describes the pseudo-scientific practices used to change a person’s gender identity, gender identity, or sexual orientation, from prescription drugs to electroshocks, to coercion in “hospitals” and exorcisms.
Research from the University of Coventry in the UK, published in 2021, interviewed dozens of people who had undergone alternative treatment and found no evidence that it was effective, but that it could have a negative impact on people’s mental health.
Similarly, a Williams Institute report from the University of California’s School of Law in 2020 found that non-disabled LGB people were twice as likely to attempt or think about suicide as non-disabled.
Many months after that first treatment, the Colombian, who is now identified as transgender, was subjected to a second, more traumatic event organized by the same church where she was baptized and married to her parents.
“My sister came with me and they told us it would be a youth meeting, which did not seem strange to me because I had already gone to children’s meetings at companies where my parents worked.”
They were loaded onto a bus with other families and without further ado they were taken to a remote farm on the outskirts of Bogot.
The so-called cohabitation had strict rules. During the “endless” six days of his stay, he repeated the same routine.
They woke her up early and sent her to pray before breakfast. “Then I had to pray all day for the ‘demon’ to leave me, and I could not eat or sleep if I did not obey,” he recalled.
“They cast spells on me and threw holy water on me. They put candles everywhere and made crosses with ashes on me and talked about what was wrong with me and my sexual orientation.”
When people “repented of their sins”, they were made to talk about and identify others who had “sinned”.
To be allowed to go to bed, they must first say that they felt “soul free”.
They all went to sleep, except for Dane, who did not accept the lie and did not want to regret it for homosexuality.
That’s why they set her up as an example of “what’s wrong” and made her pray the rosary for hours.
“On recent nights, my sister told me she was so bad and begged me to change. She felt rejected for being my sister’s sister,” Dane explains.
“I do not want to continue fighting”
After the first “treatment”, he has to say that he has stopped homosexuality.
On the way home, his family asked him if he was well and if there were any changes.
“Initially I told them I had changed. I do not want to continue to fight. If I tell them I feel like I always do, the treatments will continue and it is not healthy for me.”
Dane explains that you feel “lost” when you leave alternative therapy.
“You want to be‘ normal ’by changing because they make you feel that it is wrong to be yourself,” she responds.
“If you’re gay, your only choice is to be a hairdresser or prostitute in your life. I do not like it. They make you feel like I wanted to study astrology.”
After this experience, Dane began to inquire what had happened to him and what it meant to be gay.
After a while, the more informed Dane opened his mind to his parents.
He confirmed to them that he was still gay, talked to them about human rights, and decided to get involved in the LGBT + process and participate in demonstrations and events.
At school she started talking about diversity, which is why she was expelled.
Many years later, her parents apologize and now support her and go with her to the gay pride parades.
Today, Dan Gott serves as director of the Foundation, an action and support group for the trans community, denouncing that “alternative therapies are still commonplace” in Colombia and other parts of Latin America. Normalized and absorbed “.
“I didn’t know I was undergoing transplantation until I started to see what they were,” he says.
“They exorcised me. It didn’t work for them. I just joked at school that I’m still weird in the story.”
Dane says that after the treatments he underwent, the process of his self-recognition as a trans person was long and he went through many “procedures and reassessments” that he felt.
A “complicated” issue
Andrés Forero, campaign manager for All Out, the global movement for LGBT + rights, says there is really little information about gay alternative treatment.
“The problem in Latin America is complicated because it is not a priority and the laws are very different,” he told BBC Mundo.
In some countries, such as Brazil, there are restrictions on the use of alternative therapies by psychologists, but according to Forro it is “not very effective”.
Because, he argues, “psychologists are not the ones who do most of these practices, they are usually religious organizations.”
He also thinks that “unfortunately” alternative therapies are “very natural” in Latin American culture.
“When I told my dad I was gay, his first reaction was: ‘Well, let’s see if there’s a cure or something that can cure you.
In the 20th century, it was not uncommon for some therapists to propose to change sexual orientation through intensive psychoanalysis and sometimes electroshock therapy.
But in 1973, the American Psychological Association stopped treating homosexuality as a disorder. Then, in 1990, it was removed from the World Health Organization (WHO) International Classification of Diseases.
Among the many medical organizations around the world, both the WHO and the United Nations have warned that all forms of alternative medicine are unethical and harmful.
Until the beginning of 2022, five Latin American territories had explicitly banned them: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay and Puerto Rico, although in most cases the laws did not cover the subject extensively.
There is a legal vacuum in other parts of Latin America in this regard.
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BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-59859117, Import Date: 2022-04-19 11:20:05
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