Brazilian Judge Approves Gay Conversion Therapy

Quickly undoing years of legislation for civil rights.

In a ruling a Brazilian judge approved gay conversion therapy which has sparked outrage and fear around the world. Last week, Waldemar de Carvalho, a federal judge in the capital of Brasília, overturned a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that banned psychologists from offering cures that claimed to change gay people’s sexualities.

Judge de Carvalho ruled in response to psychologist Rozangela Justino, an evangelical Christian whose licence was cancelled in 2009 for offering conversion therapy, according to a report from The Guardian.

Justino said in an interview from 2009 with the Folha de S Paulo newspaper that she saw homosexuality as a “disease”. She also said she felt “directed by God to help people who are homosexual.”

The Federal Council of Psychology in a statement said the decision “opens the dangerous possibility of the use of sexual reversion therapies,” and promised to fight legally against the decision.

Toni Reis, who is in charge of Brazil’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance, also plans to appeal the ruling at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

“This decision is a big regression to the progressive conquests that the LGBT community had in recent decades,” said David Miranda, a leftist councillor in Rio de Janeiro and one of the few openly gay politicians of the country, to the Guardian. “Like various countries in the world, Brazil is suffering a conservative wave.”

Brazil currently has a growing number of evangelical Christians in the country who ally themselves with rightwing groups and protest soap operas that have characters that are part of lgbt community.

Ivete Sangalo, a Brazilian singer, spoke out against the decision in a Instagram post. She said calling homosexuality a disease was ridiculous, “The sick ones are those who believe in this grand absurdity.”

Rogério Giannini, council president and a psychologist, said the 1999 ban had already been through other legal actions including a proposed bill in Congress.

“There is no way to cure what is not a disease,” said Giannini in an interview with the Guardian, “It is not a serious, academic debate. It’s a debate connected to religious or conservative positions.”

Since the overturning people on social media have been protesting using hashtags like,  #curagay on Twitter. One of Brazil’s big pop stars Larissa Machado, known mainly as Anitta, also took to social media to criticized the country’s the decision to focus on the LGBT community rather than the country’s other serious issues.

“That’s what happens in my county. People are dying, hungry, the government killing the country with corruption, no education, no hospitals, no opportunities… and the authorities are wasting their time to announce that homosexuality is a sickness.” Her comments were viewed nearly 900,000 times.