Adam Polaski

Advocates Protest Exportation of 'Ex-Gay' Programs

Filed By Adam Polaski | August 09, 2011 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: conversion therapy, Dan Choi, ex-gay, Hong Kong, protesters, reparative therapy

HongKongConversion.jpegIn June, the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department sponsored a seminar for social service workers that was presented by Hong Kwai-wah, a psychiatrist who says he specializes in "ex-gay" reparative therapy. These conversion programs, where gay or bisexual people seek to repress their same-sex attractions, have been proven to be extremely dangerous, condemned by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. Hong Kwai-wah's specific programs assert that same-sex attraction can be eliminated through sexual abstinence, prayer, and cold showers.

The doctor has connections with Canadian group Exodus Global Alliance and the United States group Exodus International, the organizations that have been discredited for their attempts at changing the sexual orientation of gays.

LGBT advocates in Hong Kong protested the government-sponsored seminar in June, but in recent weeks, the spotlight has intensified as activists look to further discourage the practice of "ex-gay" conversion therapy in China.

This weekend in New York City, a coalition of LGBT organizations arranged a demonstration to oppose the Hong Kong government's sanctioning of the conversion therapy. The organizations - the Gay Asian & Pacific Men of New York (GAPIMNY), Queer, Asian, Visible, Empowered (Q-WAVE, a queer women and trans org), and the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission - staged a "shower-in," pointing out the particular ridiculousness of the "cold shower cure."

The organizations spoke out at the event, which was held on Sunday in front of the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York City.

GAPIMNY spokesperson Dennis Chin ">explained that the purpose of "exporting" (PDF) these mostly-American "ex-gay" practices to China is to popularize and legitimize them overseas. He said:

We are greatly disturbed by the increasing exportation of right-wing bigotry to overseas
communities. Exodus Ministries and the "ex-gay movement" are not just content with fanning the flames of homophobic violence here in the United States but also want their beliefs adopted by the Hong Kong government.

HongKongConversion2.jpegThe groups also issued a list of demands (PDF) to elicit immediate and long-term action from the Hong Kong government:

  • For the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department to cease sponsorship of ex-gay conversion therapy workshops
  • For the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department to issue a public apology for legitimizing ex-gay conversion therapy
  • For the Hong Kong Psychiatric College and the Hong Kong Psychological Society to make statements condemning ex-gay conversion therapy
  • For the Hong Kong government to establish policies that eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

Truth Wins Out and Lt. Dan Choi have started a petition to block the practice of "ex-gay" conversion therapy in Asia. Sign it here.

Photos courtesy of Silvia Sei-Wei Chen

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The same people who are homophobes are also racists. Pray away the Gay is as effective as Pray away the Black. Have homophobes started any Ex-Black, reparative therapy treatment programs yet?

One possible silver lining is that the government in mainland China bans religious proselytizing there, and there was already widespread negative reaction to homophobic remarks made by born-again Christian actress Lü Liping.

When ex-gay Adam Hood came to Australia recently to preach in churches, we closed down his meetings and sent him packing back to the US.

Tweet: 1 Apr :gayambassador Anthony Venn-Brown “message from Aussie #exgaysurvivors to all USA 'ex-gays' thinking of coming to Australia to speak. "Don't bother"”

There is also an article about this in DNA Magazine #138 called Love or Hate page 30.