The Jewish Chronicle
Study shows impact of ‘conversion therapy’ on the gender diverse
A NEW report highlighting the harmful impact of “conversion therapy” on gender diverse people will add to pressure on the government to ban it.
Based on a survey of 450 people who said their gender identity did not match the sex assigned to them at birth, it was published on Wednesday to coincide with Trans
Day of Visibility.
Campaigners are pressing the government to make good on its commitment to end conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The latest report was backed by a coalition of charities assembled by the Ozanne Foundation, which works for the inclusion of LGBT+ people in faith communities.
It shows “the devastating impact of so-called conversion therapy on gender diverse people and the harm that they have so often been forced to endure,” the foundation’s director Jayne Ozanne said. The website, banconversiontherapy.com, which is also supported by the foundation, includes the stories of two gay Jewish men from the UK who underwent such therapy.
One of them, Eli (not his real name), claimed teachers at the Jewish comprehensive he attended in London had encouraged him to have it. He had been bullied at school. A therapist in Golders Green told him it was not natural or normal to be gay and explained the therapy was “designed to ‘fix’ me”.
He was instructed to imagine different scenarios including his parents having sex and his experience of being molested at 15, as well as to think of good-looking girls, he said.
In the winter, he was sent somewhere for more “extreme” treatment.
“We were made to watch porn and kicked every time we reacted. We were stripped naked, blindfolded and sedated. I was there for about six weeks, until I became so ill that they had to send me home.” The experience has left Eli with “deep scars. I have a difficult time with relationships and intimacy scares me.”
He was sharing his story so people understood that “religious leaders are still allowed to discriminate against LGBT people and demand that we change”.
It has left me with deep scars. I have a tough time with relationships’