Most of us know about the "cure homosexuality" scams run by various religious crackpots in the US, whose effects range from absurd to psychologically damaging. Ecuador's crackpots, though, take it to a deeper level, operating "clinics"
in which lesbians are forcibly confined, often at the behest of their own families
, and subjected to gross abuses (including sexual assault) in the name of turning them heterosexual. The clinics are theoretically aimed at gays of both genders, but in practice most of their victims are female, partly because in Latin American culture males tend to escape the control of the family at a younger age. There are about 200 of these "clinics" operating in Ecuador, apparently with the tacit approval of the government.
At a time when Latin America is making such progress (Argentina and Mexico even have gay marriage now), the persistence of this kind of barbarity is shocking. Change.org has a petition to the Ecuadorian government
; beyond that, we bloggers can help by getting the word out. Sometimes embarrassment can move those in power to do the right thing.