Disturbing Techniques to Allegedly ‘Cure’ Homosexuality

One of the most interesting questions to come out of Thursday’s Skype event with Richelle Mead was a man who asked if she studied brainwashing techniques before writing her latest book, Silver Shadows. Having just finished the book yesterday, I can tell you there are some disturbing events that happen. The whole time I read the book, I heard Richelle’s words in my mind. After joking about what the CIA might be doing these days, she answered the man’s question by saying many of brainwashing techniques used in the book are used in real life, at theoretically well-intentioned facilities aimed at ‘curing’ people from homosexuality. 

I’m sure everything that happened in Silver Shadows isn’t done at those facilities. They can’t do that much, right? Of course, I’m making an assumption based on Western ideas of freedom and American law. Perhaps other countries think those techniques are just find in the case of homosexuality. I’m still holding out hope that any facility like that in the United States wouldn’t be allowed to be nearly that bad.

In reality, not one thing done in that book should ever be done to any human being. The worst prisoners we have aren’t forced to endure things like that. After finishing the book, I can’t get this out of my head. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a lot of pain and suffering that takes place, along with the forced emotional stress and paranoia.

Perhaps more sickening than the suffering of characters were the people instigating that suffering. I may have been able to forgive them if they actually seemed concerned about the people in their custody. Instead, it seemed like they almost enjoyed the torture. They filled their prisoner’s heads with rhetoric about how evil, unclean and damned they all were. A part of me wondered if they were trying to create their image of hell on earth, as if to say ‘this is where you are headed.’

Except nothing they did seemed like a warning – it was a punishment. Those instigating the torture told their victims this is what they deserved and they believed it themselves. They didn’t see sick people, or mentally disturbed people in need of help. All they saw were people who deserved to suffer, and they were happy to see that happen by their own hands.

In both the case of the book and homosexuality, the people subjected to the torture are neither sick nor mentally disturbed. I mention those things only because of the good intention involved. While still wrong, perhaps if a person thought their deplorable actions could help cure a person they thought was horrendously ill, I could understand. I’d still expect them to recoil, though. I’d expect them to turn away, sickened by the suffering of a fellow human being. In these facilities that try to ‘cure’ homosexuality, do they recoil? Do they see those in their facility as sick people in need of care, or do they seem them as demons worthy of all the pain they can give them?

This photo, "Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!” is copyright (c) 2014 Linzi and made available under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license
This photo, “Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!” is copyright (c) 2014 Linzi and made available under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

I was afraid to Google this, but decided to try it anyway. As I write this, I have a web browser open with the search results for “brainwashing techniques cure homosexuality.’ The first site is called AmericanTraditions.org. From the summary, I see the statement, “From my studies, it appears that it is easier to cure homosexuality than pedophilia.”

First off, I am offended that consenting, loving adults would be lumped with pedophilia. Nonetheless, I clicked the link anyway and couldn’t even read far enough to see if brainwashing techniques are discussed in detail. I stopped around the 5th paragraph, which, among other acts, claims homosexuals engage consuming and rolling around in each others feces. The paragraph ends with the claim it “is not uncommon” for them to insert a rodent into their colons after de-clawing and de-fanging the creature.

Um, what!?

That was really my fault. Unfortunately, I’ve learned any website with that kind of URL tends to be rather extreme and offensive. A while back, I Googled NAAWP in the hopes I might find a redeemable website. Instead, I found NAAWP.org to be just another extreme site, this one crying about the ‘white genocide’ of America.

I don’t know why this is the way it is. I can’t even link to those sites, they disturb me so much (although NAAWP doesn’t hold a candle to AmericanTraditions).

I will provide a few links I found from the BBC and Huffington Post on brainwashing techniques aimed at ‘curing’ homosexuality. After reading Silver Shadows, I couldn’t finish the BBC article. There it is, right there. I wonder if Richelle Mead used that same website for her research. There are the exact techniques the characters in her book were subjected to.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Humanity has done some pretty terrible things throughout history. I’ve seen the medieval torture devices. Hell, I’ve seen today’s news. People do terrible things to other people. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised there are people who would be so against homosexuality they could ignore their humanity and subject them to such torture.

I dare to hope those facilities are non-existent today.

What do you think of the idea there are facilities that claim to ‘cure’ homosexuality in today’s world? Do you think they actually work, or do they just terrify the victim? Is making someone too afraid to take action the same thing as curing them from desiring the action? Why can’t people just live and let live?


15 thoughts on “Disturbing Techniques to Allegedly ‘Cure’ Homosexuality”

  1. It is a sad, terrible and tragic fact that for all the amazing and wonderful progress society has made there can still be such hatred, intolerance and conflict in the world. I am proud of how far gay rights have progressed in my lifetime but the fact that such violently homophobic attitudes can continue to not just exist but thrive even in progressive societies in the developed world confounds, disgusts and perturbs me.

    I happen to believe that homosexuals no more choose their orientation than heterosexual people do and that given there is no choice involved the very notion that one could be persuaded out of their sexual orientation is a nonsense, a vile nonsense. Of course if you exert enough pressure, make people experience unfathomable shame and self-loathing and deploy techniques that induce fear then you can persuade people out of acting as their true selves but you cannot change their essence.

    This is a subject I feel passionately about but I can tell that I am preaching to the choir so I shall step off my soapbox now. Suffice to say that if more people focused on messages of love, compassion and tolerance in their religious texts or, for those of us without faith, focused more on those ways of being out of a sense of social responsibility and inherent humanity then the world would be a better place for all of us, not just those at the sharp edge of prejudice.

    1. “Of course if you exert enough pressure, make people experience unfathomable shame and self-loathing and deploy techniques that induce fear then you can persuade people out of acting as their true selves but you cannot change their essence.”

      I feel the same, and not just because that’s what went down in the book. These people aren’t being cured, they’re being tortured to the point they’re too afraid to function normally. There’s no way someone could go through that and be the same.

      I saw some articles arguing people have the right to choose this therapy if they want to, but I wonder where that stops. When the pain and torture becomes too much, are they out of luck when they beg people to stop because they signed a contract? I just can’t agree with that. The only reason someone would freely choose that kind of treatment is under extreme pressure and hatred from outside.

      I can’t read that book without thinking about how these things really happen in modern times. It infuriates me.

  2. I’m sorry you discovered this awful practice. The good news is that more and more people qualify it as awful. I, too, wonder why it is so hard for many to “live and let live.” We crave consistency too much I think, we want the world to be as we think it should and we also like to be in charge. We’re learning, just painfully slow. I’ll have to check out the book.

    1. I, too, want the world to be as I think it should be, but I think the world should be diverse, full of people in all their differences. Who are these people who want everyone to be the same? How boring.

      What really makes no sense to me is that the people doing shit like this, by definition of every religion, are ALSO sinners. Where the F do they get off casting stones when they’re just as guilty according to their precious traditions. People are different and they believe different things. They need to shut up and allow real freedom of religion (and I’ve found plenty of religions who approve of and perform equal marriage)

  3. There are better things to cure than homosexuality, homophobia for one. All the energy put into this brainwashing could be used for much nicer things. I don’t understand why people get so worked up about it.
    Hail the new puritans, for the damage they do. And I wish the world would disassociate homosexuality and paedophila, one is a consensual choice the other is coercive abuse.
    Good blog btw

    1. The association of homosexuality with pedophilia drives me nuts. People don’t seem to understand the concept of consent. A child cannot consent to a sexual act, an adult can. That’s what makes one abuse and the other mutual.

      1. I was under the impression that’s what I was saying. If I didn’t explain myself well enough I apologise, I agree completely with your sentiment.

        1. No, I got you. I guess I just meant to say I agree but then kind of repeated what you said. Sorry. I get on my soap box sometimes about this issue.

          1. So do I (get on my soapbox), I’m vehemently against coercive non-consensual abusers of any form, and the organisations that use coercive techniques to chance someones oppinion (wheter sexual orientation or anything else) should be called what they are criminal torturors and abusers.

  4. I was on the side, seperated, when my ex tried the evangelical church to bash the gayness from my step-son with the bible at the age of sixteen. It failed, he is now 29, and happily gay.
    These people who try to ‘cure’ are pure evil.

    1. Agreed. Why religions think they will help people or turn them away from alleged evil with hate, shame and anger is beyond me. I don’t even care so much that some people think homosexuality is wrong. I just care that they seem to treat people who aren’t straight as less than human. It’s infuriating.

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