Gay Conversion Therapies

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US-based Vice, known for its controversial documentaries, has released a three-part documentary investigating gay conversion therapy – a practice that has been denounced by medical communities and partially banned by several states. For the documentary, Vice sent their cameras to Journey Into Manhood, a gay conversion program, where men pay more than US$600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities to ‘cure’ themselves of their attraction to other men.

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Dr Joseph Nicolosi, the founder of reparative therapy, is seen saying in the film, ‘Everyone is heterosexual. The idea that some people are naturally homosexual, or naturally gay, is just a social construct. So when you have individuals with same-sex attraction, we see it as something went wrong developmentally and we try to resolve the issue and put them back on the path toward their natural heterosexuality.’

It also investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for children.

Sam Brinton, a survivor of reparative therapy who is today a nuclear engineer as well as co-chair of Born Perfect which works to end reparative therapy, spoke of being physically tortured during his therapy sessions during which he was shown erotic pictures of men while his hands were ‘wrapped in hot coils’ and ‘shocked with electricity.’

The documentary also travels to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference in the US and speaks with former ‘ex-gay’ leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner. He says in the documentary, ‘Today I’m very offended at the concept of change therapies for homosexuality because the message that someone who is gay has something intrinsically wrong with them is a shame-producing, negative message that hits at the core of a human life and I’m offended that the message is still in any way communicated.’

Watch Part 2 | Watch Part 3

Swallow Troye’s Happy Little Pill

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Teen idol Troye Sivan had a Hollywood gig at age 13, a lead role opposite John Cleese at 14 and a recording contract on his 18th birthday – all after a career “failure” at 12. How, exactly?

To most shoppers out at Perth’s Murray Street Mall, 19-year-old Troye Sivan probably looks like any other local teenager – albeit an elvishly pretty one – out running errands with his mum and little brother. But to girls of a certain age (say, 12 to 17), Sivan seems to exist on a different plane altogether. Sporting his trademark quiff and oversized T-shirt promoting Tumblr, he could be a good 100 metres away and still the girls somehow sense him, the way birds detect unseen disturbances in their immediate environment.

Soon enough – in Topshop and City Beach; outside Fossil and the newsagency – Sivan is surrounded by teenage girls in the process of thoroughly losing their minds. To be fair, most of them are lovely and sane, asking Sivan to pose with them in selfies before running off for a private group squeal. But on other days, Sivan’s fans have proper, pituitary-induced meltdowns. Some scream at his face point blank, while others shed hot, silent tears.

Last Halloween, fans tracked down Sivan’s home address and waited outside the front door, calling out tauntingly, “Trick or treee-eeat?” Troye’s younger brother Tyde – who has a face that belongs in Dolly magazine and is fast becoming famous in his own right – deadpans that it was more like “Troye or Tyyy-yyde?” The brothers spent the evening hiding indoors, held hostage in their own home. Later, Sivan tells me that this kind of behaviour is why he avoids being near local schools after 4pm. Sivan’s mother, Laurelle, adds that she’s in the process of having their home de-listed from the White Pages.

Read on…

Magic: The (Queer) Gathering

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Wizards of the Coast has revealed Magic: The Gathering’s first ever trans character. The new character, named Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, is part of Magic: The Gathering’s latest expansion, Fate Reforged. While her card doesn’t mention her gender, a story published on Wizards of the Coast’s website reveals the details of her origin, weaving her background into the tale of combat.

magic-aleshaAlesha’s clan tradition allows its members to pick their own name after earning glory in battle, with members usually picking names that reflect battle feats. “She had been so different—only sixteen, a boy in everyone’s eyes but her own, about to choose and declare her name before the khan and all the Mardu.”

When it comes time for Alesha to choose her name after killing her first dragon, she goes in a different direction and takes the opportunity to come out to her battle comrades. “And the whole gathered horde shouted ‘Alesha!’ in reply. The warriors of the Mardu shouted her name. In that moment, if anyone had told her that in three years’ time she would be khan, she just might have dared to believe it.”

Alesha does eventually go on to become kahn, leading the horde of humans, goblins, and orcs into battle.

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