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Love and Sex Info
“I’ve never felt so guilty in my life,” says Anmol. He’s been with his girlfriend for two years but lately he’s found himself fantasising about her best friend.
“I don’t want to mess up my relationship over something like this but I really don't know how to get her friend out of my mind,” says Anmol. “I’m turned on every time I’m around her.”
Dutch state medical insurance has been paying for therapy to ‘cure’ gays – the revelation recently shocked many people in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is known as one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to the accepting gays. But here too there are people who believe that therapy can make homosexual people straight.
An evangelical foundation in Amsterdam has been organizing courses called ‘Different’ to help Christians who are struggling with their homosexuality. These therapies have been covered by Dutch health insurance policies – even though medical experts agree being gay is not a disease and there is no scientific evidence that these treatments work.
Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers said she was shocked to hear so-called ‘pray the gay away’ therapies have been paid for out of the country’s compulsory medical insurance package.
The idea that gays can be converted into straight people is “bizarre”, the minister said. The treatments shouldn’t be covered by insurance because “homosexuality is not an illness,” she added.
One former teacher of the ‘Different’ gay conversion lessons, Raphael Creemers, is now openly gay. Today he rejects the ideas he taught other people.
“I did this for 10 years and I really believed that this could work for me and for others,” he says. “It took me a number of years to realize that this absolutely isn’t something that can be changed.”
“Because of the classes, it took me much longer to finally accept who I am,” a gay man who took the ‘Different’ therapy told Dutch TV. He now believes it was a mistake to try to change his sexuality.
Cured by yoga?
The Dutch controversy highlights the fact that the ‘gay cure’ concept is still common worldwide.
Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad caused outrage in 2011 when he described homosexuality as a “disease” that was brought to the country by foreigners – though he later claimed he’d been misquoted.
The comments came two years after India’s Supreme Court overturned a law that made homosexuality a crime.
When the ban on gay sex was scrapped in India, popular Hindu guru Swami ‘Baba’ Ramdev argued that homosexuality could be cured by yoga.
“It can be treated like any other congenital defect,” he said. “Such tendencies can be treated by yoga, pranayam and other meditation techniques.”
Michele Bachman, a would-be Republican candidate in the US presidential race, made headlines in 2011 when it was revealed that she and her husband ran a Christian counselling business offering ‘pray the gay away’ therapy aimed at ‘curing’ gays. Yet homosexuality was scrapped from the official list of mental illnesses in the US nearly 40 years ago. And the American Psychological Association warns that treatments to change a person’s sexuality don’t work and can be bad for a patient’s mental health.
Photo: M.V. Jantzen under CC licence
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