Make sure you’re not funding anti-gay ‘conversion therapy’
To: The US government
Follow the lead of other aid agencies and investigate if health facilities run by groups in Africa that your PEPFAR programme funds are offering anti-gay ‘conversion therapy’
After a six-month openDemocracy investigation, major aid donors and NGOs have said they will investigate anti-LGBT ‘conversion therapy’ at health facilities run by groups they fund.
‘Conversion therapy’ describes a range of practices – from talk therapy to physical ‘treatments’ – that attempt to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It has been condemned by more than 60 associations of doctors, psychologists and counsellors globally.
Our reporters found that this damaging ‘treatment’ was being offered at health facilities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Half of them were run by aid-funded groups or belonged to aid-funded networks. One of these facilities is inside the main Nairobi office of a group that receives millions of dollars from the US government PEPFAR programme for work with marginalised communities.
After being contacted by openDemocracy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Global Fund and MSI Reproductive Choices have all said they will begin their own investigations. They want to make sure their funding is not being used for ‘conversion therapy’.
The US-funded group in Kenya has said that it is investigating the issue. But unlike the other aid donors, PEPFAR itself has not responded at all.
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