A pill claiming to ‘cure’ you of being gay in just eight months is being openly marketed online, Gay Star News can reveal.
Marketed online in Turkey, Homofin claims the ‘herbal’ treatment influences your hormones saying: ‘It is now up to you to be or not to be a homosexual.’
Homofin’s site even encourages a mother, who is worried her son may be gay but does not want to raise the issue with him, to buy the capsules and secretly dissolve the drug in his food.
The ‘medicine’ is being openly marketed through the website for TL129 ($60 €44) for a 30 day treatment. It even has its own Facebook page. The site does, however, say it is currently out of stock but will be available again soon.
It says the research which led to the medicine’s development included isolating hormones in female urine and male sweat.
It adds: ‘Your sexual identity, which is something you are born with and has only to do with hormonal pheromones, is no longer your destiny. You can make your own decisions.’
But the pill has been condemned by leading psychiatrists.
Speaking to GSN, Dinesh Bhugra, the openly gay president elect of the World Psychiatric Association, said: ‘It sounds to me that people are marketing things playing on parents fears.’
He added: ‘It is completely unethical. Particularly if medication is being given to someone without their knowledge, consent or permission.
‘It is going back to the 18th century. [Homosexuality] is an innate thing and not something that should be cured.
‘The question really is whether drugs have gone through proper trials. Any scientific modern medicine would need to go through trials and it is the only way to understand whether a drug is working or not.’
‘We took legal action and filed complaints with the relevant institutions such as the governorship, the board of advertisement and the public prosecutor’s office concerning the so-called medicine Homofin,’ they said.
‘Homofin was put on the market through a website with the claim that the so-called medicine “treats” homosexuality.
‘This unethical and unscientific practice considers homosexuality a disease and poses a threat to public health through the sale of a so-called medicine (with unknown content) with the promise of treating an inexistent disease.’
Patrick Strudwick, a leading British journalist who has spearheaded the fight against quack gay ‘cures’, also condemned the drug.
He said: ‘In the history of mankind no cure has ever worked for homosexuality. They will never work and they will always cause some kind of damage.
‘Many times people have tried to use hormonal treatments. In the mid 20th century these were used to suppress people’s sex drive, a notable example was Alan Turing.
‘It might have suppressed their sex drive, it certainly didn’t suppress their homosexuality.
‘The people that need treatment are homophobes.’
One possibility is the site is intended as a hoax, as GSN has not found anyone who has actually taken the drug. It is also likened to Hetracil, an American equivalent, which is a well-known hoax.
However, we can find no reference to it being a hoax on the site itself. And despite the issue being debated for some time online in Turkey, nobody has revealed it as fake.
In addition the legal action of the Psychiatric Association of Turkey indicates people in the country are taking it seriously.
Zeynep Bilginsoy, of LGBTI News Turkey, has been investigating the story.
She told GSN: ‘Even if it is a hoax it doesn’t matter, the existence of this kind of website is very misleading. It is making people believe there is a cure, which is very damaging.
‘I’m pretty sure people have clicked on the site to buy the drug, so even if it is out of stock, it is creating problems.’
UPDATE: Omer Akpinar of leading Turkish LGBTI organization Kaos GL has now commented to GSN.
He said: 'We do not know the how many people ever bought this drug but LGBT acitivists in Turkey acted so quickly to protest the company with messages telling that homophobia is a disease, not homosexuality.
'What is even better is the Psychiatry Association of Turkey took legal action about the drug and made a complaint both to the Board of Advertisement and to the Prosecutor’s Office.
'Psychiatry is one of the most problematic areas for LGBTs in Turkey because many families take their LGBT kids to psychiatrists in hope of converting them. And there are always some doctors who want to benefit from homophobia and transphobia in society.
'But as Kaos GL we organize trainings with psychiatrists and school counselors on LGBT issues because these groups have a strong voice on how the families approach their LGBT kids.'