News Feed: Torture used to “cure” lesbians

Lesbians in Ecuador are demanding an end to “torture clinics” designed to “make them straight”.

An online petition
, addressed to Ecuadorian Health Minister, David Chiriboga and launched last month welcomes moves by the Ecuadorian government to close some 27 such clinics – but points out that over 200 are still open. According to the petition letter, escaping patients have reported cases of physical and psychological abuse including verbal threats, shackling, days without food, sexual abuse, and physical torture – all inflicted in an attempt to “cure” their sexuality.

Paula Ziritti, 24, who escaped after two years in one such facility, tells of three months when she was shackled in handcuffs while guards threw water and urine on her. She also describes numerous accounts of physical and sexual abuse.

She says, “The closure of the first clinics by the government is good, but not good enough. Why is the clinic where I suffered still open?”

The petition, which is supported by Fundacion Causana, an LGBT human-rights organization, and a coalition of other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender groups has so far attracted almost 80,000 signatures.

Further information may be found on the website.


This is a pretty good example of what happens when those of a “normative” persuasion are allowed to get away with medicalising – and pathologising – human sexuality. We’ve seen it in the US (and occasionally in the UK too) with “reparative therapy”, as well as surgical interventions designed to “normalize” the bodies of intersex children. We see it in the debates around the Diagnostic Standards Manual – the bible of the Psychiatric community in the US and many other nations , too.

Those who argue that what goes on in the US is “different” may thereby assuage their own consciences – but in fact, the end results can be much the same, or worse. At least if you are tortured, you know who your real enemy is: whereas there is now a long list of cases of individuals, both gay and trans, who suffered the psychological torture of reparative therapy, became their own enemy, and later took their lives.

As for the Ecuadorian Government: it is good to hear that they have closed a few of these clinics: however, given reports that these clinics have decreased in popularity over recent years, a cynic might sugest that they are not so much acting to protect gay women – as throwing a sop to public opinion by taking credit for something that is already happening.

These allegations are disturbing and, frankly, disgusting: no apologies, therefore, to readers if in this instance, “analysis” has strayed into “comment”.

Sign the petition: and if you have a moment, please draw this story to the attention of your MP.

Jane Fae

Note: The attention of news organisations wishing to make use of this content is drawn to the conditions of use. Failure to comply is likely to result in a large bill!


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Shirley Anne said,

    They are all fascists, homophobes and living in a by-gone age. Problem is they still have influence. I wonder what the reaction would be in suggesting that people like themselves be given the same treatment to cure them of their vile behaviour? They think themselves to be normal…..I worry about that.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. 2

    melonf said,

    Any idea how the victims end up in these clinics? Are they sent by the courts or are they sent by doctors, perhaps like sectioning? Presumably there’s some sort of coercion, but the article doesn’t say.

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