Gay teen told ‘God would kill his family’ unless he renounced his sexuality
A survivor of so-called “conversion therapy” explained how his own family subjected him to the torturous, debunked practise.
Blair Anderson, of Glasgow, told Glasgow Live how he was just 14 when a religious family member called him “abhorrent” after he came out as gay. His family, instead of offering him love and support, instead subjected him to years of non-physical abuse.
“Most people’s idea of conversion therapy is a formal one, taking place maybe in a medical practice or a church camp”, Blair told the outlet.
“My experience was different, as it was family-based.”
Growing up in a “strict” religious household, Blair told Glasgow Live, he was told that being gay was a sin.
When he came out, he “was told it wasn’t an option and given an ultimatum – to be gay or disowned”.
He told the outlet: “For the next five years, I repressed my sexuality. l couldn’t explore it or express it. I pretended I was straight, in relationships with girls, and couldn’t tell anyone else I was gay.”
He was subjected to “gaslighting, bullying, harassment and isolation”, enduring prayer and one-on-one teachings designed to rid him of his innate sexuality.
“I was threatened, told that if I was to practise my homosexuality in any way, family members would die as a result – they’d be killed by God,” he told Glasgow Live.
As a result, his mental health suffered – but his family stopped him from seeking help and forbade him from going anywhere without supervision.
Anderson “escaped” from his family aged 18. Now living his truth, he has spoken out about his experience and backed a nationwide campaign to end conversion therapy for good.
Conversion therapy survivor ‘wants the torture to stop’ as he back bans
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has signalled his intention to introduce a ban on conversion therapy. However, activists remain wary.
With no real details of what the legislation will look like, questions – and fears – have been raised. These include whether the ban will targeted not just licensed health are professionals, but religious and spiritual leaders too, and whether it will include trans conversion therapy.
The prime minister is facing pressure from not only LGBT+ advocacy groups and charities but fellow Tory lawmakers, faith leaders, all major British health and psychiatry bodies and the public to ban the damaging pseudoscience.
The Scottish National Party had pledged to ban the practice in its 2021 manifesto, writing that there is “no place for conversion therapy in Scotland”.
“If the UK Government does not take action to ban conversion therapy, we will bring forward our own legislation as far as it is possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament,” it read.
With Johnson still delaying on his promise to ban conversion therapy, having recently insisted a public consultation would first be necessary, the Scottish government has begun to make its own moves.
Holyrood, Scotland’s parliament, announced in July that its Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee has launched a month-long consultation into drawing up a potential ban.
Committee lawmakers said they are hotly considering making conversion therapy a “criminal offence”.
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