The plot to redefine conversion therapy – UnHerd

The majority-Muslim city of Yogyakarta, on the humid southern coast of Java, is rarely associated with progressive politics. While being gay is not illegal there, it is certainly not tolerated: the Indonesian island has a history of shunting homosexual men into a third category of gender called waria, the kind of homophobic compromise that has been repeated in homophobic societies across the world. And yet, for a brief moment in 2006, Yogyakarta became the epicentre of the global effort to remove biological sex as a category in law.

At the start of November, an assortment of 29 high-profile UN representatives, human rights lawyers, academics and LGBTQ lobbyists flocked to the sultanate city to attend a conference at the Gadjah Mada university. There, over four days, they hunkered down to craft a document they would call the Yogyakarta Principles.

Having tried and failed to convince conservative countries to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in UN resolutions, the drafters, led by Irish ex-priest Michael O’Flaherty, sought to demonstrate how any country that had signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was obliged to grant them anyway. Their ambitious interpretation claimed “the right to recognition as a person before the law” automatically included the right to legal gender self-ID, while “the right to health” obliged states to “facilitate access by those seeking body modifications related to gender reassignment”.

The Principles were not legally binding, nor did they cite any legislation. Indeed, according to one of its signatories, O’Flaherty insisted that his fellow drafters ignore the legal reality. The Yogyakarta Principles, then, were simply a wish list.

Sonia Onufer Corrêa, a Brazilian activist and one of the attendees, later admitted that Indonesia was only chosen because the drafters wanted a Muslim country, so as to avoid the impression that the edicts came from the decadent West.

In November 2014, around the same time that the IRCT was haemorrhaging money intended for torture victims, the NCLR had been granted an audience with Convention Against Torture treaty experts in Geneva. They brought along a star witness, who tearfully spoke of the horrific electric shocks and beatings that his therapists and parents had subjected him to in an effort to turn him straight. His name was Samuel Brinton, and he would later become known as the non-binary Biden staffer caught stealing women’s suitcases from airports.

According to one of the lawyers who brought Brinton to Geneva, his testimony elicited gasps from the UN panel. How could this still be going on in 2014?

Malta was first out of the gate in December 2015 with a ban; Germany, France, Belgium and some parts of Spain have all since followed. Mardrigal-Borloz, who had by this point taken up a gig as the UN’s independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, immediately started pushing for states to legislate for conversion therapy bans.

As for the Yogyakarta Principles, they received an upgrade in 2017, when Victor Madrigal-Borloz came on board as a signatory. And the newer version is even more extreme; it explicitly calls for an end to sex registration at birth.

Source: The plot to redefine conversion therapy – UnHerd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.