LGBT people in China 'forced into abusive conversion therapy'

LGBT people in China 'forced into abusive conversion therapy'

Protests have been held against conversion therapy

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

LGBT people in China have told Human Rights Watch they are being forced into "conversion therapy" which has left some with depression and psychological trauma.

The alleged therapy often involves medication, hypnotherapy and electric shocks. It is often abusive and there is no positive scientific evidence behind it, according to CNN.

The electric shocks are usually administered by strapping the person to a chair or attaching them to a machine. They are often either told to think of their own sexual experiences or shown gay porn and then shocked.

It is claimed this makes them associate their desires with pain rather than pleasure. Those who spoke to Human Rights Watch talked of being forced into the procedures by their families.

They also claimed they were not fully informed about the treatments before starting the procedures and were not allowed to leave once agreeing to start treatment.

It is thought many parents put pressure on their children to have heterosexual relationships, as due to the one-child rule that was implemented in the country for 35 years, the options for grandchildren are limited. Same-sex marriage is not legal in China and gay couples cannot adopt.

Human Rights Watch claims the therapy is commonplace in the country and takes place in hospitals and government clinics. Although being gay is not regarded as a criminal offence or treated as a mental illness in China, conversion therapy is legal.

In 1997 homosexuality was decriminalized in China and four years later the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed homosexuality from its official list of mental illnesses.

China's National Health and Family Planning Commission, the NHFPC and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry, have not yet responded to the claims.