Chinese LGBT activists protest against electroshock "sexuality conversion therapy"
A 25-year-old gay Chinese man recently agreed to gruesome "sexuality conversion therapy" because he didn't want to disappoint his parents or give his family trouble. Zhang even paid for the treatment himself, and ended up receiving repeated electric shocks to his genitals while he watched a pornographic film. When he was asked why, his reply was saddening: "I thought I'd try and see if there was a chance I could become a normal person."
Across China, this crude electric-shock treatment is part of China's lucrative industry that has practitioners claiming to "correct" the sexuality of gays and lesbians who face very high pressure to live as heterosexuals. Other methods include hypnosis and drugs. There are confirmed cases of people suffering psychological trauma after receiving these types of treatments, even committing suicide.
Recently, two activists connected with Beijing's LGBT Center protested outside a clinic that offers conversion therapy. The LGBT Center cited research by Western medical authorities who claim that these conversion methods, "deeply damage homosexuals' physical and mental health, and worse, infringe on their self-respect." They urged health authorities to revoke licenses for conversion-therapy facilities.
The American Psychological Association concluded in 2009 that, “Efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm.” Chinese law was already amended in 2001 to officially remove homosexuality and bisexuality from a list of psychological illnesses, but the pressure that individuals experience to conform to their family and society's expectation is still high, leading to the rise of these cruel conversion therapy treatments.