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Tuesday 29 July 2014

China Activists Fight Gay Conversion Therapy.

Gay rights activists in China are preparing for what they say could be a legal milestone in their fight to stop homosexuality being
treated as an illness.
Later this month, a Chinese court will hear the first case of its kind brought against a clinic that offers so-called "gay conversion therapy".
A long campaign in Europe and America has been successful in shifting the medical consensus against such treatment, and now campaigners want Chinese doctors to follow suit.
In an office block in the eastern city of Nanjing, down a gloomy corridor, I find the Nanjing Urban Psychiatric Consultancy Centre.
It's a small office with a sparsely-furnished treatment room upstairs, from which - seemingly prompted by our arrival - a young male patient hurriedly leaves.
China declassified homosexuality as a mental illness well over a decade ago, but clinics like this one are still easy to find.
Dr Zhou Zhengyou shows me some of the books he's written on the subject over the course of his career.
One of them is a guide for parents who suspect their son or daughter might be gay.
The overriding message appears to be that it is their own parenting methods that are somehow to "blame".
Dr Zhou now claims to cure up to 70% of his gay patients, although he says it is a long and difficult process.
And, his critics point out, at $120 (£70) a session - a lot of money on an average Chinese wage - long and difficult can mean lucrative.
Dr Zhou tells me that today he uses counselling alone and does not treat his patients with so-called aversion-therapy offered elsewhere in China. But he is happy to describe how it works.
"One common method is electric shock. When the patient has a gay thought, we electrocute them or inject them with drugs that make them sick," he said.

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