England’s Channel 4 has uncovered a secret Chinese underground where gay men are subjected to electric shock therapy as a means of curing them of their sexuality.
The treatment, known as conversion therapy, costs hundreds of dollars and claims to be the treatment for homosexuality in males. Many gay Chinese men are jumping at the chance to be cured, hoping to bring honor to their family. The fake therapy is a scam doctors are using to inflict pain upon their patients and earn money while doing so, claiming that the pain will allow gay men to face their homosexuality and become straight.
John Shen, a gay activist that went undercover in China, had a consultation in a hospital in Tianjin, according to Metro. He was told that the pain he would feel during the electric shock therapy would allow him to make the change back to a straight man.
“Can you bear this kind of pain? How long can you bear it? If you can really bear with it then you can change.”
The unnamed doctor then went on to explain how the treatment works on a mental level to correct behaviors.
Your conditioned reflex is that when you see someone of the same sex, you feel love. Now what I want to make you feel is scared.”
The undercover sting into the underground cure for homosexuality is part of a Channel 4 expose, titled Unreported World, China’s Gay Shock Therapy, which airs on Friday. The show explores China’s tradition of honoring the family by bearing a son has led to many gay men volunteering for the electric shock therapy in hopes of curing their urge to be attracted to another male, and hopefully allow the gay man to have children that will make his family proud.
Shen went as far as volunteering for the consultation to see what the therapy involved. However, he did not go through with the electric shock therapy. Another activist did step up to experience the therapy to see what the gay Chinese men went through to be cured of homosexuality. In a video, the unnamed activist is shown twitching as electricity flows through his body. He was not permanently injured by the electric shock treatment, but his face did go numb. It is reported that he is still gay, so the anti-gay treatment did not work for him.
According to the Gay Times, the Chinese Psychiatric Association stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental illness nearly 15 years ago. Yet, the lingering tradition that fathering a son brings honor to the family has impacted many gay men in the country. Some gay men are afraid to tell their parents that they are homosexual, causing undue internal grief. Gay men that do tell their parents are often forced to seek out the underground electric shock therapy in an effort to change their sexuality and meet a woman that will produce a child. Still, some gay men are hiding their sexuality and bearing children with women they do not love, in an effort to keep honor within their family.
China’s lack of support for gay rights and strong beliefs in tradition has provided unnecessary complications within its gay community. The electric shock therapy is considered harmless, although under the right health conditions, it could result in death. Homosexuality in China has become more tolerable over recent years, yet the stigma still remains.
What are your thoughts on implementing electric shock therapy as a cure for homosexuality? Is it a way to prove that homosexuality is not a disease to be cured, or is it inhuman?
[Photo by David McNew / Getty Images News]