The Sexuality Blog: Gay conversion therapy is happening in Africa and it is horrible

Gay conversion therapy

Of course gay conversion therapy is happening in Africa. The belief that homosexuality is some sort of perversion that can either be beaten, or coerced out of a person, through prayers, ritual or violence. Even in progressive countries like the United Kingdom and the USA gay conversion camps exist, where suspected homosexual persons are either convinced to leave their families to attend or are forcefully taken.

In Africa, gay conversion therapy takes on an even sinister form because sexual ‘aberration’ is not just considered sinful, it is also considered evil and contagious. When a person is gay in Africa, their immediate circle of family, friends and acquaintances are automatically tainted and have prove their lack of collusion by either publicly ostracizing the gay person or publicly denouncing them. Then said person is forced into the shadowy world of religious gay conversion camps where their only ticket to a partial reintegration into society is proof from the people running these camps that the person in quesiton is effectively cured.

Of course there are the more relatively benign practices of ‘deliverance’ sessions where ‘aberrant’ sexual orientation is chalked down to a demon that is then exorcised during a deliverance session. It is such a common practice which such a poor success rate that journalist Wana Udobang covered it for Guardian UK. Yet African parents, unwilling to explore the option that their child is simply homosexual and afraid to lose their social standing as a result of familial ostracization punish their LGBT children.

However a formely undocumented strain of this form of abandonment is the repatriated LGBT person. Many first generation African LGBT immigrants are finding their parents either tricking or convincing them to return to Africa for trips and then forcing them into conversion camps. Mahad Olad, a Somali born, Kenyan immigrant to the United States, shares his story about being tricked into going Africa and how he was almost forced to go to a conversion camp by his conservative Muslim parents. Olad luckily escapes before any real damage is done but his story will remind you what is happening and what is stake.

Forced gay conversions are a violation of fundamental human rights and shouldn’t happen.

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