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Gay man left ‘hopeless and helpless’ after being forced to watch straight porn during horrific conversion therapy

Patrick Kelleher December 11, 2020
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Conversion therapy: Gay man froced to watch straight porn by 'psychiatrist'

A gay man was told to watch straight porn in an effort to change his sexuality (Envato Elements)

A gay man has opened up about the shocking moment a religious “psychiatrist” told him to watch straight porn in an effort to “cure” his same-sex attraction.

Abanob Saad, from Melbourne, grew up in a devout Coptic Orthodox Christian family and was raised to believe that being gay was “repulsive to God”.

He told the The Age about his years-long failed fight to rid himself of same-sex desire.

Saad, who is now 29-years-old and has come to terms with being gay, spent years struggling against his sexuality before he eventually sought advice from a priest.

The priest referred him to a senior Coptic psychiatrist, who urged Saad to pray and repent while attending regular sessions.

“I was at loggerheads because I had a very strong relationship with God, but throughout my schooling I was told, day in and day out, that my impurity and my sinfulness as a homosexual was so repulsive to God,” he said.

“It makes you want to get rid of it, no matter what it takes.”

Conversion therapy advocate said childhood trauma made him gay

Saad’s psychiatrist tried to link his sexual orientation to childhood trauma in their sessions and implored him to pray himself straight in his spare time.

The psychiatrist also urged Saad to watch straight porn – something he wasn’t keen to do as he thought it was “stupid and immoral”.

Needless to say, the psychiatrist’s efforts failed – but the experience did leave Saad with suicidal thoughts and “feelings of extreme helplessness and hopelessness”.

A ban on conversion therapy is currently making its way through Victoria’s houses of parliament, where it passed through the lower house on Thursday (10 December).

Conversion therapy is widely considered to be a dangerous and harmful form of pseudoscience propagated by religious extremists.

The practice has been condemned by various health and psychiatry bodies across the world, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry.

A survey conducted by the Ozanne Foundation in 2019 found that one in five survivors of conversion therapy in the UK later attempted suicide, while two in five said they had suicidal thoughts after undergoing the harmful practice.

Meanwhile, less than a third of those surveyed said they went on to “lead a happy and fulfilled life”.

Despite this, conversion therapy continues to be popular among conservative Christian groups across the world, with many pushing the false narrative on LGBT+ youth that their identities are wrong and can be changed.

Conversion therapy has been banned in some parts of the world, but remains legal in the UK – despite the Conservative party’s repeated pledges to outlaw the practice.

 

Related topics: Australia, conversion therapy, Melbourne

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