Crossing the T

Life at the intersection of Church and Trans with Rev. Allyson Robinson

Ex-gay torture chambers in Ecuador and spiritual abuse

Please read Jim Burroway’s post at Box Turtle Bulletin about LGBT Ecuadorians being committed against their will to “treatment centers” that can only be described as torture chambers. (Translations of the series of articles Jim cites can be found here.) Here’s an excerpt from a 22-year-old transgender woman who experienced their treatment:

“My father paid $1,000 [approx. $350 dollars] to have them lock me up in a clinic because he wanted me to change. Four men practically kidnapped me on the street. I wore my hair long and, since I had already taken hormones, my breasts had grown. They clipped my hair. Me and another three homosexuals. They would lock us up in rooms of less than a meter wide. So small that we had to stand on our feet, in the dark, with flies.”

The place where she was taken was God’s Paradise, a drug and alcohol rehab center, led by Jorge Flor who some residents call “My Pastor.”

“When I tried to escape,” says Chiqui, “they hit me until they broke my nose. They’d ask if I was a man or a woman, they’d take our pants down, they’d throw water between our legs and would put live cables to shock us with electricity.

How in the world can such atrocities be committed in the name of Jesus?

I’m reminded of a story from the life of St. Joan of Arc.  Before she revealed to her family that she had received messages from God calling her to lead the armies of France, her father had a recurring dream. In his dream he saw Joan leaving their home town of Domrémy in the company of soldiers, which he interpreted as a premonition that she would become a camp-follower and prostitute.  He swore to his wife and sons, Joan’s mother and brothers, that if such a thing seemed about to occur he would drown his daughter, and made his sons promise to do the same if he could not.

Such a thing flies in the face of our modern understanding of basic human rights–and yet such things take place every day in our world, and in Jesus’ name.  And they don’t just take place far away.  Spiritual abuse happens in the church next door and the synagogue down the street and the mosque across town any time families are taught or counseled to mistreat their LGBT loved ones in God’s name.

What would have become of France had Joan been murdered by her family as she was departing in men’s clothes to meet with the Dauphin?  What beautiful destiny does the church unwittingly destroy when it abuses its LGBT members and their families?

2 Comments»

  ShannonB wrote @

Allyson, Sadly, the ammuntion to support your point in this post is all to readily available. Yesterday at the Americans For Truth about Homosexuality website Peter LaBarbera had this to say about the picture of two gay dads with their children on the California Equality website:

Now look at the “gay daddies” propaganda photo again. What emotions does it evoke in you? Righteous anger, pity, sorrow, deep frustration? (If your answer is “joy” at this happy “family,” then you are either lying, deceived or you’ve lost your soul, and your mind.)

What’s next, the incitement to violence against gay families? Even by their stated standard of loving the sinner and hating the sin this kind of vitrol crosses the line. It impresses upon me that but for the grace of God go we into that same hell. It highlights the need for out advocates and the value of our straight allies in keeping the same horrors from overtaking us.

  Allyson wrote @

Shannon, you make an important point. Condemnation is dehumanization, and dehumanization is the one essential ingredient for violence. We must resist every attempt to dehumanize us today, so that we do not have to face violence tomorrow.


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