by David Badash on August 26, 2013
Vladimir Putin's war on gays just got worse. In addition to the law Russia's president signed in June banning any public show of support for LGBT people, now the parliament of Russia is working on a bill that would offer free "ex-gay" or "reparative" therapy on gay people. So-called "ex-gay therapy," and the larger class of SOCE - sexual orientation change efforts - have been shown to be largely at best ineffective and generally harmful. Every major medial association has condemned the practice as harmful.
The "therapy" supposedly would be anonymous and voluntary. But given Russia's current war on the LGBT community, how long would it be before the government-sponsored "ex-gay therapy" became not voluntary, but mandatory? Would those convicted of violating Russia's "homosexual propaganda" laws be "offered" the option to undergo harmful conversion therapy in lieu of a jail sentence? The mind reels at the possibilities.
Mikhail Degtyarev, who is a senior Russian Member of Parliament (MP) gave the news to reporters in Moscow, saying the proposal would allow gay people to "return to normal life and become heterosexuals, as are 95 to 99 percent of our citizens," Russia Today reported.
MP Degtyarev clearly knows little about so-called conversion therapies. Even those who support the practice have stated they do not change gay people into straight people; rather, they claim, they allow gay people to live in heterosexual relationships.
RT notes the "initiative" would "offer gays voluntary anonymous consultations with psychologists, psychotherapists and sexologists."
Degtyarev also told reporters Parliament is working on a bill to make the donation of blood by gay people illegal. Russia dropped its ban on donations of blood by gay people in 2008.
MP Degtyarev "told a news conference in Moscow that in his view such a step could not be considered discriminatory, as 65 percent of all HIV-positive persons are homosexuals. Degtyarev did not give the source of this statistics," RT adds:
"We will suggest amendments to the law on donors that reintroduce homosexuality to the list of contraindications for blood donations in Health Ministry instructions," said State Duma MP Mikhail Degtyarev, who is also a Moscow mayoral candidate from the populist-nationalist party LDPR.
As Russian LGBT journalist Masha Gessen and many others have noted, Putin and Parliament are reportedly also working on a bill that would allow the Russian government to remove all children from LGBT and same-sex parents. Gessen is moving to New York to escape the possible removal of her children.
The New Civil Rights Movement