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This Friday, Brazilian Federal Judge Waldemar Cláudio de Carvalho granted an injunction allowing conversion therapy after a number of psychologists specializing in conversion therapy brought suit against the Federal Psychological Council. The Federal Psychological Council opposes conversion therapy, saying it’s “a violation of human rights and has no scientific basis.” The Council will appeal.
The psychologists were suing to suspend resolution 01/1999. The resolution is about how the psychological community should treat sexual orientation. It says psychologists “should not take any action that favors the pathologization of homoerotic behaviors or practices, nor will they adopt coercive action guiding homosexuals to unsolicited treatments.” The resolution also says “psychologists will not collaborate with events and services that propose treatment and cure of homosexuality.”
The psychologists who filed the suit claim the resolution was “a true act of censorship” preventing scientific research on conversion therapy. Though the judge upheld the text of the resolution, he said the Council must interpret it in a way that doesn’t “prevent psychologists from doing studies or care seeking sexual reorientation.”
The Council, however, fears that “the decision opens the dangerous possibility of using sexual reversal therapies.” In his ruling, the judge said “this decision is to allow science to keep looking for explanations of the human sexuality, not to censor the work of professionals.”
Gay conversion therapy is banned in only a few states in the United States. However, in the U.S., the National Center for Lesbian Rights is launching a lawsuit against “ex-gay” therapists, claiming fraud. In the NCLR case, a woman named Katherine McCobb went to a therapist for reasons unrelated to her sexual orientation. Her therapist, Lloyd Willey, started pressuring her to stop being a lesbian. He told her to dress differently, to lose weight, and even to start dating one of his male clients. He eventually took $70,000 from her.
Conversion therapy is dangerous. Methods include emotional and physical torture. One church in England promises to “cure” homosexuality with three days of prayer and starvation. Other methods some practitioners have used includes electroconvulsive therapy and covert sexual abuse.
If you’re upset about Brazil allowing conversion therapy — and you should be — the gay social app Hornet has launched a new petition urging Brazil to re-ban it. Sign today!