Singaporeans alarmed by ‘conversion therapy’ promotion

Singaporeans have shared their concern about a new business which appeared to promote conversion practices.

Images of a business named Neil Conversion Clinic spread online with the sign outside the business listing conversion therapy practices for SD$300.00 per hour, or a discounted rate of SD$555.00 for a double session.

@liveleaveleefu gotta be kidding me…♬ abcdefu – GAYLE

Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to align with heterosexual and cisgender norms. The discredited practice is outlawed in many parts of the world.

Images of the business quickly spread across social media in the conservative country where the government is currently considering removing colonial era laws which make gay sexual activity illegal.

Internet celebrity Titus Low later posted a video where he took a can of spray paint and graffitied the front of the business. His actions lead to members of the public contacting the police and reporting his for vandalism.

@tituslowVisited Dr Son S Hoe earlier♬ original sound – Titus Low

The venue was later revealed to be a hidden speakeasy bar that claimed to be supportive of LGBTIQA+ people. Local outlet Mothership reported that one of the bar’s owner Jasper Goh had described the venue as “an LGBT friendly restaurant-bar that will be a safe space” for “curious kids and adults alike”.

They also confirmed they were aware of Low’s “decorating” of the front of their venue. In a follow up post Low said he had joined in to advocate for people’s right to be themselves, and asked if people could stop calling the police about the graffiti.

Singapore has tough laws against vandalism and those convicted of the crime can face prison sentences and corporal punishment.

Local LGBTIQA+ organistion Oogachaga responded to the marketing stunt offering support to people who had experience trauma from conversion therapy and suppression practices.

“We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. Your experiences do not deserve to be trivialised by a marketing stunt.  Your experiences are real and valid, and they deserve better.” the group said in a series of Instagram posts.

While conversion therapy alongside other change and suppression methodologies are widely discredited in many countries they have remained active in Singapore much longer than other places.

The Singapore Psychological Society, which was formed in 1979, only made it’s first stance against the long discredited practice in 2021, encouraging counselors to instead affirm people’s sexuality instead.

Singapore based religious based organisation True Love Is, says that religious based counselling should not be included within the definition of conversion therapy practices, arguing that many people actively want to suppress their unwanted sexuality.

The group has links to Western Australian based Christian activist James Parker who operates True Identity, an organsiation that describes itself as an informal network that supports those struggling with sexuality and gender identity issues.

Parker was a prominent campaigner against marriage equality and now campaigns against conversion therapy bans in Australia.

OIP Staff

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