A recent court ruling has opened a fierce debate in Brazil about the use of controversial practices to make people become heterosexual.
Last month, a Brazilian federal judge decided psychologists could perform “conversion therapy,” a widely discredited practice meant to change a person’s sexual orientation.
The so-called therapy has also caused controversy in the US, where a growing number of states are outlawing the practice. But while the US has never taken a federal stance on it, Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology banned the practice back in 1999.
That didn’t stop a group of 23 evangelical psychologists from carrying out the “treatment.” Leading member Rozangela Alves Justino describes herself as a “missionary” who is “directed by God to help people who are homosexual.” She lost her license for continuing to perform the therapy and then brought her case to court.
Judge Waldemar Cláudio de Carvalho’s ruling means that Justino and her colleagues can resume their work.
“We consider it a huge setback to have to reaffirm, in the 21st century, that homosexuality is not a disease, disorder or perversion,” Brazil’s psychology council said in a statement following the judge’s decision.