Lesbians in the South American country of Ecuador are protesting
against clinics which try to convert gay people straight.
An online petition, addressed to Ecuadorian Health Minister,
David Chiriboga, and launched last month, welcomes moves by the
Ecuadorian government to close some 27 such clinics - but points
out that over 200 are still open.
According to the petition letter, escaping patients have
reported cases of physical and psychological abuse including verbal
threats, shackling, days without food, sexual abuse, and physical
torture - all inflicted in an attempt to "cure" their
Paula Ziritti, 24, who escaped after two years in one such
facility, tells of three months when she was shackled in handcuffs
while guards threw water and urine on her. She also describes
numerous accounts of physical and sexual abuse.
She says, "The closure of the first clinics by the government is
good, but not good enough. Why is the clinic where I suffered still
The petition, which is supported by Fundacion Causana, an LGBT
human-rights organization, and a coalition of other Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender groups has so far attracted almost 80,000