LGBTQ Update: One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

by: Jennifer Garcia 

A federal judge in Brazil recently ruled against LGBTQ+ rights when he stated that psychologists could consider homosexuality a disease, resulting in the continued practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is aimed to assimilate those who identify as LGBTQ+ into heteronormativity, basically an attempt to “turn” a gay person straight. This action has raised concerns within the LGBTQ+ community and its activists, and is viewed as a step back in the fight for equality. However, both Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology and Toni Reis (head of Brazil’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance) are already asking for the judge’s decision to be repealed.

The OutRight International, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, has spoken out on this ruling claiming that it will only cause harm to LGBTQ+ Brazilians. Conversion therapy involves prayer, shock therapy, hypnosis and talk therapy altogether inducing nausea, vomiting, paralysis and increases the likelihood for mental illness and self-hate. Not only does conversion therapy have harmful physical and mental effects but it is has proven to continuously be unsuccessful.

            “As someone from the LGBTQ+ community, I think it’s disgusting that conversion therapy is even being practiced. It is inhumane and baffling how people still think we choose to be gay, we’re trying to live our own lives and love who we love.” –An anonymous South Gate student.

Despite the progress being made in other countries, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and representation in political systems, there is still much to be done to gain full equal rights for LGBTQ+ people around the world.