Conversion Therapy Online: The Ecosystem In 2023

This 2023 report is a follow up GPAHE’s 2022 research and examines the same material in Brazil, Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Mexico, South Africa in isiZulu, and the U.S. in English and Spanish. In the case of West Africa, French results were collected, and though local languages were tried, they rarely appeared in search results because of the lack of online material in languages such as Dioula. GPAHE has also added TikTok to its research in some cases.

For the purposes of this report, authoritative results are considered to be research produced by legitimate medical and psychological organizations, such as the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, or American Psychological Association, or research presented in scientific journals such as Psychology Today, Science, or Nature.

Conversion Therapy Online: The Ecosystem

In early July 2020, the UN’s independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity called for a global ban on efforts to “cure” LGBTQ+ people through efforts such as conversion therapy, arguing these practices inflict “severe pain and suffering” on those that experience them. Victor Madrigal-Borloz wrote, “These interventions exclusively target LGBT+ persons with the specific aim of interfering in their personal integrity and autonomy because their sexual orientation or gender identity do not fall under what is perceived by certain persons as a desirable norm.

They are inherently degrading and discriminatory and rooted in the belief that LGBT+ persons are somehow inferior, and that they must at any cost modify their orientation or identity to remedy that supposed inferiority.”

Conversion Therapy Online: The Players

Conversion therapy never goes away, no matter the scandals, reports of its harms, official condemnations, or legislative bans. The movement, under new names and with new justifications and “therapies,” continually rebrands and resurfaces to carry on its demonization of LGBTQ+ people in a coordinated and international way.

The practice has been condemned by dozens of medical and psychological professional organizations in several countries, banned in seven countries, and outlawed in cities and states in several countries. Ample research has shown these practices are extremely harmful and that “LGB people who experienced conversion therapy were almost twice as likely to think about suicide and to attempt suicide compared to their peers who hadn’t experienced conversion therapy.”

From America With Hate: The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Role in Advancing Anti-LGBTQ+ and Anti-Woman Agendas in Eastern Europe

For nearly the last decade, Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADFI) has been quietly fostering a transnational, rights-violating movement, including allying with groups that argue, as many white supremacists do, that declining birth rates among white Europeans and growing immigrant populations are a demographic threat to Western societies.

ADFI, the international wing of the American Christian legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), sits at the heart of a powerful international network committed to rolling back the rights of women, LGBTQ+ people, and others under the banners of “protecting the family” and “religious liberty.” The crux of this is that ADF, under the name of ADFI, is exporting across the globe the strategies and tactics that it has successfully employed for years in the United States to roll back civil and human rights.

Democracies Under Threat: How Loopholes for Trump’s Social Media Enabled The Global Rise of Far-Right Extremism

The decision by multiple social media platforms to suspend or remove ex-American President Donald Trump after he incited a violent mob to invade the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was too little, too late.

Even so, the deplatforming was important and it should become the standard for other political leaders and political parties around the world that have engaged in hate speech, disinformation, conspiracy-mongering and generally spreading extremist material that results in real world damage to democracies.

International White Nationalist Movement Spreading on Twitter and YouTube

In June 2020, the U.S. State Department announced that white supremacist terrorism is “a serious challenge for the global community.” That same conclusion has been reached by other American government agencies including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Counterterrorism Center, as well as foreign security organizations such as Europol.

DHS has specifically pointed to the propaganda pushed by the international white supremacist network Generation Identity, the subject of this report, as motivating white supremacist violence.

Complicit: The Human Cost of Facebook’s Disregard for Muslim Life

In 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to make his social media platform a welcoming home for Muslims after members of the community faced a brutal backlash in the wake of horrific, violent attacks in Paris.

One 17-year-old in France reported, “There was a flood of violent language on Facebook to kill Muslims.” Zuckerberg posted on Facebook, “After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others. As the leader of Facebook… we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.” Citing the lessons of his Jewish background, Zuckerberg wrote that he wanted to add his voice in support of Muslims “in our community and around the world.”

It’s hard now to imagine more hollow words being spoken. Since Zuckerberg made that commitment, Facebook has been used to orchestrate the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, mass murders of Muslims in India, and riots and murders in Sri Lanka that targeted Muslims for death.

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