‘My spirit broken’: Mexicans battle to ban conversion therapy

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08/07/2020

MEXICO CITY (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When she was 15 years old, Paola Santillan was raped by two men who claimed they would “take the lesbian” out of her. She kept the experience a secret for 10 years. “I lived that stage of my life in confinement. I lived it in fear, with uncertainty, with the promise of having my spirit broken,” the 27-year-old said. “Everything changed in that moment.” Santillan is one of an untold number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Mexico who have undergone traumatic experiences aimed at altering their sexual orientation or gender identity in what is known as conversion therapy. Widely condemned by leading medical groups, including the World Psychiatric Association, conversion therapy can range from psychological counseling to religious practices and even sexual abuse in an effort to change someone from gay to straight.

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