According to Alaska Dispatch, Ecuador is using corrective rape, torture and isolation as methods to “cure” being gay in rehabilitation centers throughout the country. These centers are under the guise of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and cost between $200 and $1200 a month.
There are 226 rehabilitation clinics in Ecuador, though the number of centers that offer “treatments” for sexual orientation are not known, according to the article.
Lesbians and gays who are forced to go to the clinic are often sent by a family member in an attempt to convert her/him to heterosexuality.
While the government has made strides in protecting LGBT rights under the administration of President Rafael Correa, they still have a long way to go.
Under the administration, “a new Constitution pushed through by President Correa in 2008, civil unions are recognized for same-sex couples. Last December, for the first time, a lesbian was granted her deceased partner’s state pension,” according to the article.
These are great strides, but something needs to be done about these rehabilitation centers. The government closes the centers for small infractions, such as expired license or lack of fire exits, but they are reopened a few days later.
According to the article, Carina Vance, a gay rights activist who was appointed minister of public health last month, says that the “government is committed to a long-term strategy to change the clinics.”
Changing the clinics and making treating sexual orientation as a problem unacceptable would be a great standard that would bridge the gap between legislation and reality in Ecuador. It would affirm to the people of Ecuador that being gay is OK and not a “disease” that needs to be “cured.” It would begin to show the people that being gay is an accepted and normal aspect of life and should be embraced; instead, of discriminated against.