An Australian doctor and member of a conservative Christian sect has been banned from practicing medicine after he prescribed a teenager a chemical castration drug to be used as a "gay cure."
Dr. Mark Craddock of Sydney, who is also a member of the Exclusive Brethren Christian Fellowship sect, prescribed an 18-year-old man who was also part of the sect with the drug after he came out as gay, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
In a letter to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, the unnamed man, who is now 24, said that when he came out as gay, a church leader told him ''there's medication you can go on." He continued, ''He recommended that I speak to Dr Craddock on the matter with a view to my being placed on medication to help me with my 'problem','' the New Zealand resident said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The teen went to visit the 75-year-old doctor who then prescribed him with a "gay cure": the anti-androgen therapy cyproterone acetate, sold under the brand name Cyprostat, along with five repeats, according to ninemsn. He said the doctor did not refer him to a psychologist or discuss the drug's side effects.
Cyprostat is a form of hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer. The drug will "work by stopping testosterone from reaching the cancer cells. Without testosterone the prostate cancer cells are not able to grow," according to the UK's Prostate Cancer Charity. Hormone suppressants have been used to "chemically castrate" sex offenders, the Guardian notes.
A hearing by the Medical Council of the Australian State of New South Wales determined, "Dr Craddock failed to adequately assess the patient and failed to provide appropriate medical management of the patients therapeutic needs," in anexcerpt obtained by Gay Star News. The committee found that Craddock was guilty of "unsatisfactory processional conduct. He was severely reprimanded and practice restrictions were placed on his registration."
There are more than 40,000 Exclusive Brethren around the world, according to the sect's official website. They "believe strongly in the traditional family unit. Marriage is held in the greatest [honor], as one of God's original thoughts of blessing for the human race."
Some doctors, like Craddock, have taken somewhat dangerous steps in an attempt to "cure" homosexuality. In 2010, Dr. Maria New of New York City's Mount Sinai was reportedly experimenting with injecting fetuses with steroids to potentially make girls "more feminine" and reduce odds they turn out gay, the Oregonianreported at the time.
The American Psychiatric Association has condemned the "treatment" of homosexuality, according to GLAAD, saying, "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."
Activists have championed against "gay cures" in the United Kingdom, which includes Conversion Therapy. Last year, Apple pulled Exodus International's "Gay Cure" app from its collection.
Other 'Gay Cures' over the years:
In 2009 Manifested Glory Ministries came under fire when a 20-minute video posted on YouTube showed a 16 year old being subjected to an exorcism to "cure" him of his homosexuality.
The boy is shown writhing as church members stand on his feet, hold him under the arms and scream, "Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!"
Electrocution has long been a go-to tool for "curing" homosexuality and is still used to this day.
In October Nathan Manske, the founder and Executive Director of I'm From Driftwood, a 501©(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories, shared the story of Samuel Brinton on HuffPost Gay Voices.
Brinton was raised in rural Iowa and he spoke of growing up gay in a conservative, Southern Baptist family that subjected him to forced Christian conversion therapy.
"We then went into the 'Month of Hell,'" Brinton explains in the video above. "The 'Month of Hell' consisted of tiny needles being stuck into my fingers and then pictures of explicit acts between men would be shown and I'd be electrocuted."
Baron Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, a German psychiatrist who practiced during the 19th century, prescribed a trip to a brothel, preceded by lots of drinking, to cure men of their homosexuality.
Women who were "afflicted," it's noted, "were referred only to their husbands."
Hypnotism was a common tool used during the 19th century to "cure" homosexuals. When Schrenck-Notzing wasn't busy sending gay men to brothels, he was hypnotizing them.
In 1892 the German psychiatrist reported success in treating 32 cases of "sexual perversions." Of the 32 cases, 12 were classified as "cured," meaning "the patients were completely able to 'combat fixed ideas [about homosexuality], deepen a sense of duty, self-control, and right-mindedness.'"
Günther Dorner, who worked with the Institute for Experimental Endocrinology in the middle of the 20th century, believed that homosexuality is "determined by prenatal gendering of the brain caused by endocrinological disturbances."
He hypothesized that if you could alter any hormonal imbalances present in the womb -- as he attempted to do with fetal rats -- homosexuality could be prevented before it even developed.
'Overdosing' On Homosexuality
In the 1960s British psychologist I. Oswald would pump a gay man full of nausea-inducing drugs before surrounding him with glasses of urine and playing audio recordings of men having sex.
Oswald was attempting to "overdose" gay men on homosexuality in hopes that they would "turn to women for relief."
American neurologist Graeme M. Hammond suggests bicycling as a cure for homosexuality. He believed "homosexuality was rooted in nervous exhaustion and that bicycle exercise would restore health and heterosexuality."
In June of 2011 Hong Kong reportedly hired a psychiatrist to give a government-sponsored training session on conversion therapy.
Among the techniques Hong Kwai-wah suggested for "curing" homosexuality were cold showers, prayer, and abstinence.
Eugen Steinach (1861-1944), director of the Biological Institute in Vienna, believed that homosexuality was the result of hormonal imbalances.
To prove his hypothesis, the scientist implanted sex organs in neutered rats and Guinea pigs and claimed to have conducted successful "sex change" operations on the rodents.
Steinach's research didn't end with animals. He also transplanted testicles from heterosexual men into gay men in hopes of "remasculizing the recipient."
Cocaine, Strychnine, Genital Mutilation
Physician Denslow Lewis believed that women brought up in wealthy 19th century homes could develop "sexual hyperesthesia [excessive sensitivity to stimuli]" and become lesbians.
In order to cure these women he prescribed "cocaine solutions, saline cathartics, the surgical "liberation" of adherent clitorises, or even the administration of strychnine by hypodermic."
Though he claimed that some of his patients were "cured" and became wives and mothers, one went insane and died in an asylum.
"Pray the gay away!" has become the battle cry of the conversion therapy movement.
From Marcus Bachmann's alleged conversion clinic to an ex-gay iPhone app, those who believe homosexuality is not only wrong but curable rely on the power of prayer to make a miracle happen.
Edited by Sharpshooter, 05 September 2012 - 12:49 PM.