A Brazilian judge’s decision to approve gay conversion therapy is raising controversy in the South American nation.
Last week, Waldemar de Carvalho, a federal judge in the capital of Brasília, issued a ruling overturning a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology forbidding psychologists from offering treatments that claim to cure gay people of their homosexuality.
The ruling was in response to an action brought by psychologist Rozangela Justino, an evangelical Christian who had her license revoked in 2016 after she offered to “convert”gays to heterosexuality, according to the Guardian.
The outlet says Justino told Brazilian reporters in 2009 that homosexuality was a “disease” and that she felt “directed by God to help people who are homosexual.”
Since last week’s ruling, Brazilian pop stars and gay-rights activists are protesting de Carvalho’s decision.
Toni Reis, who heads Brazil’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance, said he plans to appeal the ruling at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, according to the Associated Press.
Brazilian superstar Ivete Sangalo also protested the decision on Instagram, and said calling homosexuality a disease is an “absurdity.”
The blowback from the decision has inspired a Twitter protest using the hashtag #curagay.
People practicing so-called gay conversion therapy often have a religious motivation, as Justino did.
Methods used range from talk therapy, to electric shocks, to treating homosexuality as if it’s an addiction like drugs or alcohol ― which it’s not.
Dr. Jack Drescher, a leading specialist and critic of conversion therapy practices, told HuffPost the reason there isn’t a standard set of practices is because “none of them really work.”