The harm religious “cures” of homosexuality do


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'I felt this crushing guilt': how faith-based LGBTQ conversion practices harm young Australians

A new study finds survivors who want to keep practising their faith can experience fresh shame when accessing mental health support

Inside a ramshackle shed on the Gold Coast in 2008, a Baptist church leader awaited the arrival of a terrified teenager called Nashy.

Nashy’s father, aghast his 17-year-old son had been accessing homosexual online content, waited in the car. Inside, Nashy was told: you are evil, possessed by the demon of homosexuality which must now be exorcised from you.

“Cough,” the man instructed. “Keep coughing.”

Nashy did until his throat was sore – an attempt to “cough out” homosexual demons.

“I was petrified,” Nashy says.

Nashy Nash changed their name two years ago when they came out as non-binary.

Nash, now 30, remembers spluttering into the orange floor dirt in two visits to that eerie shed, desperate to be rid of the homosexual urges – tangerine-hued traumatic scenes that still play on repeat.

“I was terrified I’d lose my family, and felt this crushing guilt,” they say. “I’m still working through those recurring images in therapy.”

Evil shit!