Gays disrupt hearings in Brazilian Congress on psychological treatment for homosexuality
by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
BRASILIA, BRAZIL, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) — Homosexual activists disrupted a hearing on Thursday in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies on proposed legislation to permit psychologists to treat homosexuals who wish to change their orientation, an activity currently prohibited by the country’s Federal Council of Psychology (CFP).
The bill, known as Legislative Decree 234/11 and derided by Brazil’s leftist media as the “gay cure” bill, would also overturn a CFP regulation that prohibits psychologists from publicly speaking of homosexual orientation in a negative way.
Homosexual protesters began to interrupt the hearing when psychologist Marisa Lobo spoke to defend the rights of homosexuals to receive treatment for their condition, calling her “homophobic,” “fundamentalist,” and “blabbermouth.”
|Psychologist Marisa Lobo spoke out for patients’ rights.|
“Everyone in the world who disagrees with you, you call ‘homophobic,’” retorted Lobo, according to the Correio de Bahia newspaper.
Lobo noted that the CFP’s prohibition of reparative therapy for homosexuals “injure the autonomy of the patient, because it prohibits treatment for homosexuals,” and that as a psychologist, she must “listen to that psychological suffering” when homosexuals wish to change their orientation.
The homosexuals in the audience continued their interruptions, and were ultimately expelled from the chamber when they began to read aloud a statement by the CFP repudiating the hearings. Christian supporters of the bill remained, however, cheering on the author of the legislation, Federal Deputy João Campos, a leader of the National Congress’s Evangelical caucus.
Lobo was also attacked by Deputy Jean Wyllys, the leader of the Mixed Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizens, who said he felt “uncomfortable” because of Lobo’s statements, according to the Diario do Grande ABC newspaper.
“I didn’t offend the deputy,” Lobo responded. “It is he who tried to diminish me, trying to say that my positions can’t be considered, just because I am religious.”
The CFP itself refused to participate in the hearings, claiming that the issue is scientifically settled and that the roster of those called to testify was stacked against it. The organization has historically taken an ideologically affirmative position towards homosexuality, declaring in 1999 that “homosexuality does not constitute an illness, nor a disturbance, nor a perversion,” and claiming that those who disagree are guilty of “prejudice.”
The CFP’s decision to boycott the hearings followed a letter written to the organization by Toni Reis, president of the Brazilian Association for Gays, Lesbians, and Transsexuals, “suggesting” that the “Federal Council of Psychology not present itself in said Public Hearing, because of the understanding that it is an affront to science, human dignity, human rights, secular government and the autonomy of the Federal Council of Psychology.”
The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by LifeSiteNews, also asks the CFP to “pronounce officially in an emphatic and decisive way against this hearing and against this initiative, for violating human rights.”
Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology, unlike other psychology associations such as the American Psychology Association (APA), has the power to deprive a therapist of his right to practice if its rules are violated.
The CFP used its powers to censure psychologist Rozangela Justino in 2009 for conducting reparative therapy for homosexual clients who wished it, and ordered its Rio de Janeiro division to enforce the ruling prohibiting the treatment.
Recent studies indicate that some homosexuals can learn to resist their homosexual urges and even develop opposite-sex attraction through therapy. The American Psychological Association claims the existing evidence is not sufficient to determine the efficacy of such therapy, although it admits that among those who have received it, “some individuals modified their sexual orientation identity (i.e., group membership and affiliation), behavior, and values (Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000).”
The World Health Organization continues to recognize the category of “Egodystonic homosexuality” for those who suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction, and also recognizes the use of therapy in such cases.
It also recognizes “sexual relationship disorder,” in which sexual orientation interferes with existing relationships. Transvestitism and transsexualism are also acknowledged as mental disorders by the organization.