Scientists now know that our sexuality is hard-wired into our genes. But psychologists and clergy have long tried to “cure” gay people of their “orientation,” sometimes through aversion therapy of the kind seen in the movie “A Clockwork Orange.” In the U.K., this was even paid for by the National Health Services. What were the results?
Brian Wheeler writes in bbcnews.com that, according to psychiatrist Michael Knight, there were many “biological treatments for homosexuality,” until recently. In the 1920s, German medical researchers implanted testicles from corpses into the bodies of homosexual men, in order to increase testosterone levels. Knight says, “They were told they were going to have an operation, but not what was going to be done to them.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, doctors switched to behavioral therapy. Homosexual men were given electric shock treatments, hallucinogenic drugs and were brainwashed. Convicts sometimes volunteered for these treatments, in order to avoid jail. They were shown pictures of naked men and given a series electric shocks or drugs that would make them vomit. After that, they were shown pictures of naked women, so they would associate women with a relief from the pain.
Wheeler located some of subjects of aversion therapy and interviewed them. Peter Price volunteered for it when he was 18, after his mother found out he was gay. Wheeler writes, “He remembers being put into a windowless room in a psychiatric ward, where he had to listen to an audio tape disparaging his homosexuality ‘in the foulest language imaginable.’ The psychiatrist who made the tape then gave him a pile of ‘dirty’ books containing images of nude men and a crate of Guinness to drink. ‘They then injected me with something that made me violently sick for about an hour and they left me there,'” Price says.
He quit when the doctors told him the next stage was to attach electrodes to his penis and says, “About two months later I accepted that I was gay.” A few weeks later, he saw the psychiatrist who treated him in a gay club.
Wheeler also talked to Jim Wood, who had electric shock treatment as a teenager, after coming out to his father. He now says, “I think the treatment helps you make your mind up. You can be almost grateful to them.”
Dr. Glenn Smith has tracked down dozens of gay men who underwent aversion therapy, and found that none of them were “cured.”
There?s a solution for spirituality: Get in the gap. The wonderful Wayne Dyer tells us how, as part of our new Christmas store.
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