Thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Sao Paulo on Friday to protest a court’s recent decision to overturn an 18-year ban on conversion therapy meant to “cure” gay people.
Chants of "it's not a disease" could be heard over songs including Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" as protesters flew rainbow flags and held banners demanding human rights be respected.
"We have to help people understand that this decision wasn't something small," said Carlos Daniel, one of the demonstration organizers. "These types of thoughts are what get us killed here in Brazil every day. We are dehumanized and treated like objects. We have to show everyone that we exist and that the future is ours."
The challenge to the ban — which was instituted in 1999 by Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology — came in a lawsuit this year from Rozangela Justino, a psychologist and evangelical Christian who had her license revoked in 2016 for offering the therapy and referring to homosexuality as a “disease.”
Ruling in her favor last week, Judge Waldemar de Carvalho wrote that people who want help in relation to their sexuality should not be prevented from voluntarily pursuing the therapy.
The judge has since released a statement saying that his ruling was misunderstood and that he does not believe homosexuality is a disease. He did not address the fact that experts have deemed the therapy ineffective and harmful. Read more via LA Times