Why practices like LGBT conversion therapy are dangerous and have a negative impact on mental health
Updated: Jan 27
There was an article in The Independent on Saturday written by a member of the gay community, who has bravely spoken out against LGBT conversion therapies which are still legal practices in the U.K today.
Matthew Hyndman's story details how he managed to narrowly avoid the terrors and psychological effects that come with the practice of LGBT conversion therapy when his own church turned against him as a result of his sexual ortientation.
The article is also accompanied by a video interview with Boris Johnson, who says that such practices are 'abhorrent' and 'have no place in a civilised society' - let's hope that something is now done about banning them for good.
According to research, two percent of LGBT people have been through conversion therapy and as many as five percent have been offered it, which, world-wide equates to hundreds of thousands of people being affected.
In conversion therapy the individual is presented with same-sex images of a sexual nature and then delivered electric shocks and given medicines that cause nausea and vomiting to 'condition' them out of their true sexual orientation. Can you imagine the negative mental health impact that's projected onto these poor people by putting them through this torture?
Apart from the life-long psychological scars from the treatments, (which are never successful,) there's the impact that comes from being told repeatedly by their own families and communities that their sexual orientation is repugnant and unacceptable. The individual is left damaged, vulnerable and permanently mentally scarred. Is it any wonder that the LGBTQ+ community suffer a greater amount of mental health problems than the general population? I think not.
In the article Matthew tells us that having been brought up in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and being taught that being gay would lead to 'eternal damnation', he hid his true feelings from everyone, and lived a constant lie, pretending to be heterosexual.
A monumental mistake and technical catastrophe occurred when a confidential message, detailing his true identity and feelings, somehow got sent to his entire set of email contacts while working as a missionary abroad. The message was even delivered to the 100 members of the congregation back home in Northern Ireland who were financially supporting him.
The result of this 'accidental outing' was that the missionary leaders demanded that he undergo conversion therapy to alter his sexual orientation. His church membership back home was cancelled with 'lifestyle choices' and 'refusal to cooperate with conversion therapy' cited as reasons.
Thankfully Matthew had the presence of mind to refuse conversion therapy, break away from the constraints of Northern Ireland and move to London, where he's built a new life for himself, but not everyone would have had the strength to do this.
He evidently appreciates the terrible negative impact that experiences like his own can have on other people, and like me with my mental health mission, is now profoundly changed by his experience and determined to do something about it.
Along with Harry Hitchens he has launched 'Ban Conversion Therapy' which works alongside Stonewall, LGBT+ organisations, and mental health charities, in an attempt to outlaw these degrading and discriminatory 'treatments'.
I'm so proud of Matthew for doing this. Going against the grain and standing up for minority groups is such an important thing to do. I'm so pleased that there are other people out there who, like me, recognise the importance of making a stand, so that future generations don't have to suffer like we have.
It inspires me to keep going forward in my mission to help other sufferers of mental illness, and educate everyone else! Thank you Matthew for your bravery and inspiration!
If you would like to read the full article in The Independent, I have attached it here.
I have also added a video about the damning psychological effects of conversion therapy which you can find on the home page.
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,