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These harrowing accounts of LGBT Chinese people being forced into therapy need our attention

Jasmine Andersson November 15, 2017

A supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) takes part in the Hong Kong gay pride parade on November 12, 2011. More than 2,000 people marched in Hong Kong's gay pride parade November 12, filled with music, dancing and calls for the enactment of laws to ban discrimination against homosexuals. AFP PHOTO / Dale de la Rey (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)

Homosexuality might not be considered an illness in China, but it’s clear that LGBTQ are still suffering under the idea that their sexuality can be converted by medical treatment.

Detailing the accounts of 17 people, Human Rights Watch have spoken to LGBTQI people in China who have been subject to conversion therapy, and have found some devastating accounts in their findings.

Both public hospitals and private clinics in China continue to offer so-called “conversion therapy,” which aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual.

What’s even more disturbing is that all of the cases listed took place in the last nine years — from 2008 to 2017.

“My parents wanted to take me to some kind of treatment. I was just afraid they were sending me to some kind of electroshock therapy,” said Zhu Tianwen, who underwent conversion therapy at the age of fifteen.

“My dad said there wouldn’t be anything like that involved, and that they just wanted me to be “cured” and be fine… I didn’t want to go even after what my dad told me. So my aunts helped drag me out of my parents’ place into a minivan parked outside,” they added.

“I didn’t even get to see or talk to the doctor myself before they decided to accept me as a ‘patient’,” said Li Zhi, who was taken to Psychiatric Division of the Nanping City Hospital.

While some ‘patients’ tried to escape, others found themselves deprived of any communication during their stay, which could last for months.

And the doctors in question often pressured their patients into thinking that their sexuality was perverted, or that they were letting down their parents.

‘This [homosexuality] is promiscuous and licentious. If you don’t change that about yourself, you will get sick and you will die from AIDS. You will never have a happy family … Have you ever considered your parents’ happiness?” said one doctor to patient Zhang Zhikun.

“The doctor started talking, telling me being gay is wrong and gross,‘You homosexual people are just perverts. It’s disgusting and abnormal. How could you do that to your parents? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?,” said said Long Bingzhi, who identifies as gay.

Patients were also forced to swallow medicine., such as nausea-inducing medication while watching gay pornography, so that they would associate sexual arousal with nausea.

“Soon my body started to feel like it’s burning. My stomach was very uncomfortable, I felt very disgusted and constantly wanted to vomit in the whole process, but I didn’t really vomit. I was having a headache too… Every few minutes, the doctor and the nurse asked me to calm down and keep focusing on what is being shown on the screen,” said Zhang Zhikun.

Electroshock treatment was also used so that patients would ‘associate’ their sexuality with pain.

According to Human Rights Watch, only two cases have been taken to court regarding the practice of conversion therapy.

Under several counts of legislation within the country and internationally, human conversion therapy can be ruled as unlawful.

 

 

More: Asia, China, China, conversion therapy, human rights, human rights watch, LGBT

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