One in five LGBTQ people are targeted for ‘conversion’ therapy in Colombia

Cecilie Johnsen

The results came from a survey about the country’s LGBTQ population.

A shocking new survey in Colombia has revealed some of the hardships that the LGBTQ community face. One in five LGBTQ people have been forced to undergo ‘conversion’ therapy, with that number rising to one in three for the trans community.

The survey, conducted by the US-based Williams Institute at UCLA and the Colombia Collaborative Project, found other shocking results after speaking to 5,000 LGBTQ Colombians. One in two LGBTQ people in the country have thought about taking their own lives, while one in four have actually made an attempt.

The survey also found that one in four trans people had been physically assaulted by a police officer, which was double the amount reported by the rest of the community.

Speaking to Reuters, a co-author of the survey, Jennifer Florez-Donado, said: “Considering the levels of violence, victimisation, and discrimination that LGBT respondents experienced, it is not surprising that respondents reported such high rates of suicidal ideation and attempts.

“As a clinical psychologist, every week I have parents who come to me with their LGBT children … so that I can help their children become heterosexual.” She also said that many parents take their children to religious leaders in an attempt to ‘cure’ their sexuality.

Jennifer added: “This research shows how critical it is to develop suicide prevention and violence treatment programs for LGBT people in the country.”

Laws in Colombia have been improving for the LGBTQ community, with same-sex marriage becoming legal in 2016, but the wider community still face many issues.

Last year, Kendall, a 19-year-old trans woman and sex worker, was murdered after she was stabbed in the head by a colleague.

 Kendall had left a client to go to the bathroom, when she tripped over a colleague, known as Alejandra. This then erupted into a full fight as Kendall was apparently with a client of Alejandra’s.

During the fight, Alejandra pulled out a knife and stabbed Kendall in the head. The owner of a local establishment took Kendall outside and called an ambulance, as she bled in the streets. However, after one hadn’t arrived within 45 minutes, friends of Kendall took her to the Santa Clara hospital.

There, she was pronounced dead, after being admitted with no vital signs. Kendall’s murderer was arrested.

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