Gay rights activists in China are bent on stopping what could be termed a “homosexuality conversion therapy” advanced by some Chinese doctors. Chinese gay communities have organized a series of protests and a video footage of one demonstration showing activists holding up a protest banner reading “Being gay is not an illness”, at a Beijing medical conference.
Though the modern medical consensus in the West is that there’s no good evidence that sexual orientation can be changed, Chinese doctors argue that homosexuality can be treated. The delegates do not seem convinced. “We cannot support homosexuality,” a doctor said. “Although we try to understand it,” his colleague adds.
Dr Zhou Zhengyou of the Nanjing Urban Psychiatric Consultancy Centre claims to cure up to 70% of his gay patients, although he says it is a long and difficult process. According to Dr. Zhou, he uses counseling alone and does not treat his patients with so-called aversion-therapy offered elsewhere in China. However, to the “aversion therapy”, he says “One common method is electric shock. When the patient has a gay thought, we electrocute them or inject them with drugs that make them sick”.
After decades of refusal, China for the first time has allowed gays to challenge gay conversion therapy in the courts. According to Xiao, the man bringing the case, he went through the treatment in order to gather the evidence and now he hopes a successful court ruling will effectively ban the practice.
A Chinese court is due to hear the case, a first of its kind, brought against a clinic that reportedly offers “gay conversion therapy” by gay rights activists.