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Starvation, drowning and cursed honey: Gay ‘cure’ therapy in the UK

Starvation, drowning and cursed honey: Gay ‘cure’ therapy in the UK

Facebook targeted young LGBTI people with 'gay cure' ads

Gay ‘cure’ therapy was allowed to flourish in the UK for a very long time.

LGBTI people have been starved, nearly drowned and forced to eat ‘cursed’ honey in an attempt to make them ‘normal’.

In March 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May denied the dangerous practice existed at all in Britain.

The Department of Health claimed they had ‘already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK’.

But now, thankfully, it is hoped this practice will end for good.

History of ‘gay cure’ therapy in the UK

World War II codebreaker and maths genius, Alan Turing, was one of many gay men injected with female hormones.

He subsequently grew breasts and experienced memory problems. A couple of years later, he committed suicide.

There were attempts at barbaric electro-shock treatment to turn people straight. Gay people were shown images of people in stages of undress and administered electric shocks when they saw photos of men.

There was another form of ‘aversion’ therapy. Men were given drugs to induce nausea. This would make them sick. They would vomit and have diarrhea.

A nurse would check in on them but was not allowed to clean them up. The ‘patient’ was then made to lie in their own human waste, sometimes for up to three days.

This dangerous practice was not confined to history. Here are just five recent examples.

Starvation and dehydration

In August last year, evangelical church The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry was found to be starving vulnerable LGBTI people.

In order to be ‘delivered’, they were forced to live without food and water for three days.

An undercover journalist was told being gay is ‘biologically wrong’ and going through the therapy would ‘allow him to marry’.

Desmond Sanusi, the church’s pastor, defended the practice. He said in 20 years of offering the con, ‘nobody has dropped dead’.

Attempt at ‘drowning’

Posed by models
Posed by models

Thomas (not his real name) was born in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As the older child of two sisters, the family went to a small congregation near Manchester. He remembered being told, at a young age, he would be ‘shaped’ into the perfect missionary.

There was a problem.

‘I was clearly gay from a young age. I loved Barbies and girly things,’ he told Gay Star News.

The baptism interview was held in private. It was just Thomas at the age of eight and the bishop in his 60s. He was told to agree to not masturbate and not have sex until he married a woman. Like all Mormons before baptism, he was also forced to agree to never enter into a gay relationship and to confirm his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Thomas’ baptism came shortly. Dressed in white, there was only 12 people at the ceremony.

‘I was led down to the pool by the bishop. He told me in the bathroom before the baptism, it was just us two, the water would ensure I lived a “straight and narrow” path.

‘I was eight – I didn’t know what he meant. I know now, of course.’

Baptisms in the Mormon church, where people are fully immersed, are typically quick. However, Thomas’ felt like his went on forever.

‘He brought me back up. I saw his face. He looked…unsatisfied? He dunked me back in, and I wasn’t prepared. I yelped and so much water went in my mouth, and I kicked and screamed. It was so scary, I thought I was going to die.’

Thomas was dunked four times until the bishop was satisfied he was ‘clean’.

‘Cursed honey’ as a ‘cure’ to sexuality

Sohail Ahmed, raised in a very culturally conservative Muslim home, was kicked out by his parents. If he wanted to return, he would have to be ‘exorcised’.

A preacher at a closed shop in London forced him to undergo a strange ritual.

‘They laid me down, recited the Qu’ran at me, blew air at me. They gave me this special honey that they had blessed. My parents then, at home, carried on doing the exorcism on every other day for two months. They even made me bathe in special water and eat the blessed honey,’ Ahmed told Gay Star News.

‘On a rational level I knew I was gay, and no matter what they did I was going to stay gay.’

His family suggested the healer, or raqi, use physical violence but they quickly backed down.

‘These exorcists, they believe that if you hit the individual during the exorcism, they’re hurting the demons inside them and not the individual. I said, “Fuck that.”‘

Father wrote straight porn intended for his gay son

Not all attempts to ‘cure’ gay people are harmful physically, but they all have emotional and psychological damage.

Take this British father who wrote straight porn, intended for his own gay son, in an attempt to ‘cure’ him.

‘A few years ago my neighbor’s son came out as gay and his dad was less than pleased to say the least,’ one woman said.

‘Apparently, in his mind, all this boy needed to save him from this life of sin was some good old fashioned hot sexy straight porn.

‘He searched far and wide but no existing porn was up to the task. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

While that’s disturbing in itself, there are people in power who believe homosexuality can be ‘cured’.

Home Office tells asylum seeker religion will ‘cure’ her

Awori is an asylum seeker from Uganda
Awori is an asylum seeker from Uganda

Awori, from a village in east Uganda, is trying to claim asylum in the UK.

‘When the [Home Office] first refused my asylum claim, they detained me for four hours,’ she told GSN.

‘This man, he told me to change and stop being a lesbian. Is that really allowed? I thought they promoted diversity and equality.

‘This Home Office guy asked me to change. He told me to go to a church and repent and then I will stop claiming I am a lesbian.’

Awori added: ‘He kept intimidating me, yelling: “You’re the people causing problems in this country!” I put my complaint in about it and they refused to investigate it.’

Will the ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy actually pass?

The UK has now promised it will take steps to pass a ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy.

However, the government has not revealed a bill or how it will actually ban the dangerous practice.

Conversion therapy does not work and any attempt to ‘cure’ your sexuality is considered widely harmful to a person’s mental and physical health. It has also been widely condemned by every mainstream health and psychiatry organization in the world.