Objection to involuntary gay-conversion therapy or voluntary

Sadly, your guess would be wrong, at least if you are willing to accept “formal medicalized programs of ‘gay conversion’ treatment” as falling into the category of “GCT centers”.

Short version: Wrong, sorry. Despite some ancient traditions in Indian culture reflecting some degree of acceptance of “third sex”, homosexual, and other non-cishet-binary identities, there is a very large amount of institutionalized homophobia in modern Indian society. Though to be fair, some progress is being made in social attitudes.

I’m confused, but mostly sad and horrified.

It is complicated. But just as the widespread acceptance of certain types of same-sex sexual activity in classical antiquity doesn’t prevent entrenched homophobia in the societies of modern Italy and Greece, the presence of “hijras” and some other non-cishet-binary categories in pre-modern Indian traditions doesn’t automatically result in gay-friendliness in modern Indian culture.


Nicely done!

I’ve not heard of any conversion therapy that didn’t have a religious antagonist. It preaches how awesome and God-worthy being opposite sex married and going forth to flourish is, and how evil and selfish and disease ridden the same sex life is. Presumably, anyone seeking therapy would have to accept that they and their desires are an abomination and will bring them an eternity of damnation.

A few are noted in this decade-old thread. But I think the best response to “are there non-religious gay conversion initiatives” is this:

“Gay Conversion Therapy” is based on the assumption that being gay is an emotional disorder and perversion, not a natural state of being from birth. Homophobics constantly hammer on the belief that homosexuality is a “choice”, which is absurd. As a heterosexual, I realize that I couldn’t suddenly “choose” to be a lesbian, so why in the world would I believe the opposite scenario to be true?

Some people (men, at least, usually) do have sex with other men without ever thinking of themselves as homosexual, and not necessarily because there is no alternative in their situation. And some anecdotally do “change” - the British writer and jazz singer George Melly, who was homosexual through all his days in the Navy and for quite a while thereafter, described in his memoirs how he was passed by a large group of cyclists on the road, and realised he’d been checking out the women rather than the men, and remained heterosexual and married for the rest of his days.

But the prior question is, why should it matter so much that a “conversion therapy” is required? Suppose “gay conversion therapy” were to be interpreted in the opposite sense, i.e., offering heterosexuals something to convert them to homosexuality. I can imagine the head-exploding reaction - and if that’s nonsensical (as it would be) then so is this.

But, in Italy and Greece the old gods are pretty much no longer worshipped (I assume some neo pagans still do). Last I checked, Hindus in India were still reading the Ramayan and the Mahabharata, and praying to Krishna and Ganesh. That’s the part I don’t understand. In Italy and Greece, a new religion brought new societal values. In India, you still have Hinduism (which I know is not a monolith). So why have things changed?

Okay, you want the complicated, you can have the complicated. :slight_smile: Buckle up buttercup, here we go:

  1. Things have actually not “changed” in mainstream Hindu society in the sense that heterosexual matrimony and procreation, especially having sons, has always been emphasized as SUPER important to the point of being nearly absolutely mandatory. The ideal of family life based on lifelong heterosexual matrimony is scripturally and categorically prescribed as part of dharma or righteous conduct for Hindus, and this has been the case from remote antiquity right up to the present. In fact, global “westernized” modernity has only very recently begun to shift this cultural viewpoint in the direction of normalizing individualistic diversity of lifestyle patterns including divorce/remarriage, same-sex marriage, etc.

Acceptance in Hindu cultures of male same-sex sexual activity has almost always involved the assumption that such activity is a natural (if slightly disapproved) but ultimately insignificant sideline to the serious dharma matters of (heterosexual) marriage and children. Here’s Wikipedia:

So while many Hindus throughout history and today would turn a blind eye to casual “musti” sex play between two men or to a man’s temporary liaison with a hijra prostitute, for example, most would be very strongly opposed to, say, their son’s actually identifying as a hijra or other third-gender category, or to rejecting heterosexual matrimony in favor of a male life partner.

In a sense, then, what all those distraught Indian parents who want their gay sons to go through GCT are concerned about is not so much that their son sometimes enjoys having sex with men, but that he’s not willing to have sex with women, in the context of scripturally and socially mandated heterosexual marriage and family.

Okay so far? Watch this space for parts (2) and (3).

Kimstu Thank you! Very informative

You’re very welcome! Can’t stop won’t stop:

  1. About that “introduction of a new religion” bit. Just because dharmic/“Hindu” religious practices exhibit a lot of continuity and commonalities between ancient/medieval and modern times (although by no means totally without change and diversification) doesn’t mean that other religions haven’t strongly impacted Hindu society as well. Both late medieval/early modern Islam (via the Indo-Islamic empires) and modern Christianity (via European, and especially British, colonialism as well as post-colonial globalization) have significantly influenced the social norms of Hindu culture. (Not to mention that about 14% of the present Indian population are Muslim themselves, while a smaller minority, about 2.5%, are Christian.)

Muslim doctrine, of course, generally forbids homosexual sex, although plenty of Muslim cultures (including Indo-Muslim ones) have tolerated it to some extent. In fact, some sources indicate that in medieval times homosexual relationships were more tolerated among Indian Muslim elites than among the Hindu majority. Some remarks:

And of course, you don’t need me to explain to you that European Christian colonizers were generally even more adamantly and formally opposed to same-sex sexual activity (although even there, natch, there were various subcultures of covert toleration), and were far more draconian when it came to imposing their religious views on the legal systems governing their colonial subjects. Big honking Human Rights Watch report on “sodomy laws” and British colonialism.

  1. But what about the wimminz? In Hindu cultures, as in most other cultures, lesbianism has generally been perceived as far less of a potential threat to social norms of heterosexual marriage and family life than male homosexuality, primarily because women are realistically assumed to have far less autonomy in determining whether, when, and with whom they’ll have sex.

Nonetheless, same-sex sexual activity is explicitly prohibited in canonical Hindu dharma texts between women as well as between men. At the same time, though, sexological works such as the ancient classic Kamasutra refer to various acts in both lesbian and male homosexual sexual practice, as part of their comprehensive taxonomy of the ways that human beings get jiggy wit it. Because so much of the Indian historical record in all forms, both Hindu and Indo-Muslim, is male-authored, it is hard to tell (at least from my mostly-layperson perspective; I’m sure a specialist in Indian social history could tell you more) which of the textual and visual-arts references to female same-sex sexual activity represent independent lesbian desires/acts per se, and which represent a sort of “Playboy lesbianism” avant la lettre,* designed primarily to appeal to the heterosexual desires of men. (E.g., having your maid/girlfriend shoot a dildo up your hoo-ha from a crossbow. NSFW and do not try this at home.)

Again, you don’t need me to rehash the comparatively well-known debates on the extent to which lesbianism was specifically referenced or covered by Christianity-inspired anti-sodomy legislation in the British Empire. So let’s leave it at that, unless there are any further questions. :slight_smile:

*I’m not definitively claiming that “Playboy lesbianism avant la lettre” is the most absurdly pretentious phrase I’ve ever written, but it certainly makes the shortlist.

If somebody wants to change their sex, their transgenderism is no skin off my back. They should be allowed to do what they want. If somebody is gay and doesn’t want to be gay, I say they are free to go ahead and try to change if that’s what they want. Again, no skin off my back.

Personally, I think people are a lot more malleable than the current thinking. I read that there was a study and in roughly 50% of the cases where an identical twin was gay, the other twin was not. I suspect that there is an environmental component. Maybe it gets fixed early in life and then can’t be changed. Maybe it stays malleable for some. I don’t know.

I believe strongly in my own adaptability, and I believe that if there was some huge societal upside to being gay, and a big disadvantage to being straight than I would probably be truly and sincerely gay. I think a lot more people would be.

Really? You’d no longer have a sexual interest in women? All due respect, I have trouble believing that.

For me, it would all be about replacing that desire with desire for something else that I choose to value more.

I used to smoke and I used to be very overweight. I told myself that cupcakes and cigarettes were disgusting and that I didn’t want them. I told myself that I wanted salad and long runs. Now I’ve run 30 marathons, 6 ultra marathons, and haven’t had a cigarette since 1999. Don’t miss it don’t want it.

I tell myself that I really like my job, and that I want to do it, and am excited about it, and I am. But, I wasn’t born 5hat way. I had to train myself.

I am the Captain of my my soul, the master of myself, otherwise, I am nothing. I am in charge of what I like, desire, etc. Those things are the tools I use to motivate myself to do what I believe to be worthy. I master them. They don’t master me. My sexuality is trivial compared to this.

Okay, prove it. Talk is cheap. There are tons of dudes out there that would probably be interested in a fit runner such as yourself. Go bang some of them, be sure to enjoy it, and get back to us.

A trans person does NOT change their sex. A trans woman has always been a woman. A trans man has always been a man. At some point, they recognize they were born with oh let’s call it a birth defect. They talk to a therapist. They get hormonal therapy. They may or not get corrective surgery.

This, I believe.

Trans folks go through a lot of hoops to make sure they won’t change their minds after hormones or surgery. Conversion ‘therapy’ involves no such saftey measures. Physicians providing hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery follow the Hipocratic oath to not make the patient worse. The monsters providing conversion pretty much only cause harm and make the patient worse.

I bet we could do tests on you which would reveal that you aren’t nearly the master you think you are. Which makes you like everyone else.

[quote=“DocCathode, post:91, topic:820169”]

A trans person does NOT change their sex. A trans woman has always been a woman. A trans man has always been a man. At some point, they recognize they were born with oh let’s call it a birth defect. They talk to a therapist. They get hormonal therapy. They may or not get corrective surgery.


You are making a valueless semantic argument (since you clearly understood exactly what I said), and you are not educating me.

Unfortunately, some people also regret their gender reassignment surgery.

Does this mean that they should not have been allowed to have it and that the people who did it to them are monsters?

I don’t think so. If somebody wants to get their gender reassigned and feels that would be helpful to them they should be free to do so. If someone feels similarly about their sexuality they should have the same freedom to pursue its alteration.