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Since February 11, 2022 Moscow community center for LGBT+ initiatives is recognized as a foreign agent organization without legal entity by the Russian Ministry of Justice.
From January 2021 to September 2021, the Moscow Community Centre for LGBT+ Initiatives collected information about the practices of "conversion therapy" in Russia. We see the need to publicise the situation regarding practices of "conversion therapy" against the backdrop of an ever-increasing level of homophobia and transphobia in Russian society. As part of this work, we have attempted to collect the most common practices of "conversion therapy". Following the UN, we use the term "conversion therapy", interpreting it broadly as "methods for changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, which are allegedly aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian or bisexual people to heterosexual, and changing transgender and gender diverse persons' identity to cisgender, i.e. matching their biological sex at birth.
The study took consisted of several stages:
1
Collection of information through an online survey of the LGBT+ community in Russia.
2
Collection of qualitative information about the practices of "conversion therapy". 17 respondents who had experienced attempts of changing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity agreed to take part in an open-ended interview.
3
An experiment in which a group of volunteers turned to different service providers in Russia with a request to change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and recorded what happened. In total, 16 specialists agreed to help adult LGBT+ people.
STEP 1.
A SURVEY ON THE EXPERIENCE OF «CONVERSION THERAPY PRACTICES»
01
Respondents were asked to answer several questions about how, when and where they had encountered "conversion therapy" practices and what consequences this experience had for them. A total of 74 people took part in the survey – people who at various times faced attempts to change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Some cases were evidently violent. At the same time, it is often difficult to talk about whether it was voluntary or coerced, since people living in a situation of homophobia and transphobia, especially young people, tend to avoid social pressure, minority stress and social exclusion.
Social profile of the respondents of the survey:
The respondent of the survey are from Moscow and Moscow Region (19 persons), Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast (7 persons), North-Western Federal District with the exception of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast (5 persons), Central Federal District with the exception of Moscow and Moscow Region (1 person), Southern Federal District (3 persons), Volga Federal District (2 persons), Ural Federal District (4 persons), Siberian Federal District (5 persons), Far Eastern Federal District (1 person).
Types of "conversion therapy" practices according to survey results
Since we interpreted the concept of "conversion therapy" broadly in our study, we initially asked respondents to share any experience that they see as an attempt to change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. After analysing the information received, we combined the described experience into several blocks – approaches to attempts of influencing a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
1. Systematic attempts to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity at school and by parents through persuasion and indoctrination.
2. Attempts to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity through religious practices: "reprimanding" and jinn exorcisms.
EXPERT OPINION

In fact, "reprimanding" is the Russian name for what Catholics call exorcism. This really is "reprimanding" because prayers are said very loudly there. In Russia, usually in the suburbs, I know that in Serpukhov this is done to drunkards, to alcoholics. There we have a revered icon of the "Inexhaustible Chalice", and superstitious people believe that it cures alcoholics. But let's face it: it has no effect whatsoever. It's a placebo. I think that if this is done to a person against his will, and this is usually the case, it is a criminal offense, and even more so in the case of an unbeliever. I am opposed to putting anyone in jail, but this is an outrage, and a Christian should not do this. And homosexuality… In Russia it is considered a disease and not all believers treat homosexual persons as possessed by an evil spirit.
YAKOV KROTOV
historian and Orthodox priest
Reading prayers alone (up to 20 years old) and together with my parents. They also attempted to guilt me into changing for their sake, for the sake of my future children, or by saying that it was a terrible sin.
The mullah told my parents that according to Sharia law I was supposed
to be killed, since I was an apostate (atheist).

The imam read the Quran. The women groaned, twitched, growled while I sat with my mother and watched these atrocities with horror. I barely persuaded my mother to get out of there. I had to pretend that I had anxiety incontinence. We got out of there.
The imam asked me to lie down on the floor, which was covered, and not move. He pressed his foot into my ribs and began to read the Koran. And so I probably lay for about 15 minutes. The imam warned me that if I get a stomach ache and parts of my body start to go numb, it means I was cursed.
3. Psychiatric and hormonal treatments.
Hormonal drugs, forced heterosexual sex as per the doctor's recommendation (a woman was paid to do it), therapy (talking with a psychiatrist).
The psychiatrist in my psychoneurologic dispensary (I have schizoaffective disorder) keeps acting "surprised" and asking who I am, if not a girl. Every time I explain to her that I am an agender and one time she aggressively yelled at me: "Say that you are a girl!"
4. Psychologists and psychotherapists.
Every week I would go to a sexologist who is well­known in certain circles, Igor Valerievich Dobryakov [psychiatrist, National Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and Neurology named after V.M. Bekhterev]... The first thing he began to talk about was that little boys masturbate, but girls masturbate more... then a bit of Freud, then something else, but in general, his main message was: "Damn postmodernism ruined everything…"
We strayed from the topic so much that at one point, when I casually mentioned euthanasia, Igor Valerievich chuckled and said that he could put suicidal thoughts down in my medical record, to which I replied that they were what brought me here in the first place.
My parents forced me to see a psychologist who was quite incompetent. From the very first appointments, I felt that they were very strange. With time, I told my mother that I did not like what was happening, and that it seemed to be harming me. My mother quite rationally noted that many medicines are bitter and are meant to be this way. I can't say I was FORCED, but I was more or less made to see this therapist.
5. Psychics and alternative medicine.
At first it was traditional medicine and pills like phenazepam, etc., then psychics, seers, etc. I was constantly told: "You are a girl." The psychics said: "You must forget everything" and made me wear women's clothes, etc.
6. Corrective sexualised violence.
7. Chemical addiction treatment approache.
The "Siberia"¹ rehabilitation centre¹ , Novikov Evgeny Mikhailovich ² . Forcible "therapy" using the twelve step program. Forced labor, prayers to a "Higher Power", total control of our behavior and thoughts.
¹ https://rcsibir.ru

² https://companies.rbc.ru/id/1097017006624-ooo-reabilitatsionnyij-tsentr-sibir/
8. Some respondents describe a range of different methods used to change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
They tried to take me to a mental hospital when they found out about my gender identity. They burned my clothes saying that I was possessed and needed to go to church, and also tried to accustom me to activities that are associated with my assigned gender.
Forcible sexual contacts with a man, psychological pressure, religious methods of changing my sexual orientation.
I was taken to a woman "psychologist", but she kept rambling on out about the "special fate of a woman", so I left after 10 minutes. Then she turned out to be a "psychic" and told my parents that I had a "dark being" in me. Then, on Friday morning, they took me to a church in Sergiev Posad, because "an especially strong healing prayer" was read there, and for three days in a row we got there in the morning and stood there for 8 hours. I had absolutely nothing with me except headphones and a phone.
Systematic attempts of changing a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity at school and by parents through persuasion and indoct.
Control over behavior and communication, dress code and violent restrictions on freedom.
Attempts to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity through religious practices.
Use of psychiatric and hormonal treatments to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity Involvement of psychologists and psychotherapists in attempts to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Engaging Psychics and Using Alternative Medicine to Change Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity.
Use of corrective rape as a method of changing sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Using methods fromthe therapy of people living with drug addiction to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
"Conversion therapy" approaches in Russia:
Source: Our World in Data
Initiator of "conversion therapy" practices:
Source: Our World in Data
According to our survey, "conversion therapy" practices have been registered in 30 of 85 regions of the Russian Federation.

Conversion therapy incidents mostly occur during adolescence and early adulthood, but they can be long-term and recur several times in a lifetime. The vulnerability of adolescents and youth to such practices has already been noted in other studies. Of particular concern is the fact that in more than 60% of cases, mothers were the initiators of conversion therapy.
The age³ at which "conversion therapy" incidents occurred:
Source: Our World in Data
Age/Frequency of incidents:
Source: Our World in Data
*** We have taken into account repeated incidents of "conversion therapy" practices in different age groups.

³ Age // Small Medical Encyclopedia / eds V. I. Pokrovsky. — 1991. — Vol. 1. — pp. 358­359.
Most often, respondents encountered conversion therapy in adolescence and early adulthood (15 – 20 years) – the two age periods separate childhood from adulthood. During this period, the psychosexual maturity of a person is shaped. People of this age need to be treated with care and provided with qualified support when they apply for psychological and medical help.

Since the methods used in attempts to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the age of the survivors and the conditions of the practices are very different, it is difficult to assess and systematise the depth and extent of their negative impact on the individual. We asked respondents to independently evaluate the consequences of the events experienced on their physical and psychological health and their social life.
Self-evaluation of the consequences of "conversion therapy"
practices on the person's physical health:
Source: Our World in Data
Self-evaluation of the consequences of "conversion therapy"
practices on the person's mental health:
Source: Our World in Data
Self-evaluation of the consequences of "conversion therapy"
practices on the person's social life:
Source: Our World in Data
**** Of 47 persons.
! Survey excerpt

When I realised what had happened, I felt angry. I felt raped and used. I even started thinking whether a type of violence using psychoactive drugs existed and tried to find a term for it.

I spent a year under the influence of those substances and wasn't aware of what I was doing.

When I would come to my senses, I would discover photos, videos, screenshots and screen recordings of horrible message exchanges on my phone, as well as text conversations with people I don't know. I realised I had been posting my old private photos and unnecessary information on Instagram for everyone to see.


The psychological consequences and damage to a person's mental health are difficult to assess. Consequences like emotional, volitional and cognitive disorders remain invisible. They are concealed and reinforce social stigma. Due to traumatic events in the past and a lack of trust in doctors, getting timely psychological help is becoming less and less accessible.
STEP 2.
INTERVIEWS WITH SURVIVORS OF "CONVERSION THERAPY" PRACTICES IN RUSSIA.
02
Providers of such "services" often combine several methods simultaneously or sequentially, especially when one type of intervention does not seem to produce the expected results. The most common methods are religious, esoteric rituals, pseudo-medical, pseudo-psychotherapeutic consultations, psychiatric consultations, and hormone therapy.

It is possible to distinguish three main types of practices that form the basis of "conversion therapy" in Russia following practices from around the world:

  • psychotherapeutic practices used to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  • medical practices used to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity
  • religious rituals.

The purpose of the interviews was to obtain qualitative information about how attempts to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity were carried out.

We used the open-ended interview method to provide the respondents with as much freedom as possible in describing their experiences.

In interviews with participants, three types of «conversion therapy» practices were recorded, which were used at different times in Russia and the Soviet Union.
Medical practices used to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity
Interview 1.
«My diagnosis was "mixed personality disorder of a homosexual orientation". The head doctor added " of a homosexual orientation" to the ICD diagnosis.»
EXPERT OPINION

Initially, a person should receive their first diagnosis, which is coded according to the ICD. A mixed personality disorder, simply put, refers to a psychopathic personality. They also put sexual orientation in the mix, although it isn't supposed to be mentioned because it has nothing to do [with personality disorders].
DMITRY DMITRIEVICH ISAEV
psychiatrist, psychotherapist, sexologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, associate professor
«In Crimea I went through another health assessment and came across a Professor Samokhvalov. He kept wanting to fry my brains. It was called "electro-convulsive therapy.»
EXPERT OPINION

One of the methods used is electric shock therapy. Those who use it see its effect and those who don't doubt it. There aren't many indications for using electro­convulsion therapy – severe affective disorders that cannot be treated with the help of medicine. It is an extreme measure that should be used in very limited amounts. If administered to a healthy person, they will hardly remain healthy.
DMITRY DMITRIEVICH ISAEV
psychiatrist, psychotherapist, sexologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, associate professor
«I was sent to Goland ⁴. Doctor Goland in Nizhny Novgorod. Back then the city was called Gorky. My mother and I went to see him and he sat me down and made me listen to audiocassettes. I listened to them for four hours.»

«The doctor put my case on file at the hospital. I had to check in there every month. She said: "If you don't come yourself, you will be brought here". If being gay is a disease, give me a pension and keep treating me.»

⁴ Distinguished doctor of Russia Yan Genrikhovich Goland, a widely known doctor who practises conversion therapy.
https://goland.su

Interview 2.
«In 2018 I realised that I was trans and wanted to change my documents, yes, of course, I wanted to start hormone therapy, to get an examination so the doctors would tell me whether I need it or not and what dosage to take. I then worked with a psychotherapist and was ready to change my documents. I was planning to go to St. Petersburg. But my aunt's friends suggested that I see a doctor from Rostov, from the "Phoenix" clinic.»

«I was often told that I was a "poor girl" who was brainwashed on the Internet and that there is no such thing as a transgender person. Naturally, they refused to send me to a medical examination. The doctors insisted that I should wear feminine clothes. I had been there since January, and just a month and a half later I began to change: I became forgetful, stupid and started rapidly gaining weight. I started experiencing memory, cognitive and personality disorders as well as strong taste hallucinations. I also had flashes of suicidal thoughts. I became very obedient and whiny. I acted like a child.»

«By May, when it was time to let me out, I was agreeing to everything and did not understand anything. I started using feminine pronouns. My hands were shaking and my head was in a haze. I felt awful. I could not bathe myself, my mother bathed me. I had become a vegetable. And the doctors were happy with these results.»

«With time, I started skipping the pills. The less I medicine I took, the faster my consciousness and awareness returned to me. At some point, I stopped taking the pills and began to understand what was happening.»

«My diagnosis was "Pseudoneurotic schizophrenia" F21.3»
EXPERT OPINION

This diagnosis is difficult to get rid of. If a person was diagnosed with it at a clinic, they would then have to go to another clinic whose medical board would annul it.
DMITRY DMITRIEVICH ISAEV
psychiatrist, psychotherapist, sexologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, associate professor
«The psychiatrist and his wife came to the house and brought some medicine with them. Their mother gave them money in cash, one or two thousand rubles apiece.»

«I was 17 years old and these psychiatrists put me in the adult ward. I heard how my mother said to the psychiatrist: "We must put him in a madhouse ⁵ ". I have never felt so bad in my life. I was drooling, my eyes kept rolling back. You lie there, trembling, and hope it will pass.»

«I spent one month in the City Psychiatric Hospital No. 2 of Nizhny Novgorod. After being discharged and coming home, I was beaten and given pills. I felt so physical ill after taking the pills. Every day I was shaking and drooling, I didn't understand what was happening. I wanted to sleep for their effect to wear off. Until I took the pills it wasn't so bad. They have a cumulative effect… I came up with a plan during that time. I left home.»

⁵ Psychiatric clinic
Interview 4.
«I get up in the morning and hear that my mother is going somewhere. I ask: "Are you leaving?" She says, "Yes, I'm leaving." Her voice sounds so affectionate... And I hear her lock the door from the outside. I go into the kitchen and see a sheet of paper where it says that I am an ungrateful creature. I look at this piece of paper and all I want is to die. We had some phenazepam that I had access to. I took several pills. Everything turned into a blur. The closet began to move around the room.

I remember my mother coming in and screaming, and then the ambulance arriving. I remember waking up in the hospital, my mother hugging me and crying: "Elton John got married and so can you.»

«When I was admitted there for the first time, a man came to me. He said he was a professor. It was really unpleasant. The elderly professor introduced himself and was very polite. "Can we talk? Do you mind? Perhaps we could help you." I say: "Yes, and who else will be there?". He says: "Me and my students." I decided that they might at least tell me something, because no one else had told me anything. I was given antidepressants and tranquilizers. I didn't know my diagnosis.»

«There were students at the meeting, everyone sat down and was looking at me. He says: "Do you consider yourself a boy?" I say, "Well, sometimes I do, I think it's cool." And I still remember how one of the students started laughing. It was just a snort, but it was obvious that he could hardly contain his laughter and that they were looking at me like at a zoo animal.»

«I then asked him: "So what kind of help will you offer?" And suddenly he said: "It's time for us to go, that's it." I felt very uncomfortable. I was left alone without any help.»

«A priest came to the hospital I was in. He asked me very rudely: "Well, do you drink or smoke? Do you sleep with both women and men? Do you gamble? You do, don't you?" I tried to kiss his hand, but he started moving it in front of his face and saying: "You can't kiss it".»
EXPERT OPINION

Firstly, I believe that most priests are homophobic. Secondly, if they aren't homophobic and they are neutral, they are worried about being called out and losing their job.
YAKOV KROTOV
historian and Orthodox priest
Psychotherapeutic practices used to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity
Interview 5.
«I was just told that I would have to go see a psychologist. In fact, he just lectured me. Then he began to talk about sexual orientation, about the fact that a person's sexual orientation can be changed or corrected, that we can use our willpower to suppress our attraction to people of the same sex. He gave me some practical advice. Back then Britney Spears was popular and I also liked her as a singer. He advised me to look at her and her music videos: "Look what a beautiful girl she is". He also advised me to pay attention to women and girls, to their physical shape and how attractive they are. Then everything changed. What I described only lasted for three sessions. Then our conversations took a different turn. He started intimidating me: "Your parents keep calling me and asking me for results. They say they can't see any results. There aren't any results either because you aren't trying hard enough or you don't want to get them". He also said, "They told me that if I don't have sessions with you, they want to send you to the army". My parents kept talking about how they wanted to send me to a psychiatric clinic or kick me out of the house. I got the feeling that this man wasn't practising "conversion therapy", he was just trying to make a quick buck.»
Interview 6.
«When I was, I think, twelve or thirteen years old, my mother hired a psychologist to work with me, out of the best of intentions. I remember a few images and the general idea. The idea was that Mom is worried, and we (me and the therapist) need fool Mom. As far as I understand, the girl tried to pretend that we were friends trying to reassure my mother. She managed to convince me to wear a dress and necklaces for a while. That's all I remember, and then the dark times began and things became horrible. I kept feeling like a fake and a liar. I spiralled into severe depression, made three suicide attempts and almost succeeded. My parents threatened to send me to a psychiatric hospital, but I suspect that they themselves were terribly afraid of it. I got over my depression… but, yeah, I got into drugs.»
Religious practices used to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity
Interview 7.
«My mother went to her religious leader, because she had been attending the Murmansk Church of Christ ⁶ , and told him about the situation. Webster said that he didn't know how to work with that kind of thing, but that I had to fight my homosexuality. The paster of the local evangelical (Pentecostal) fellowship⁷ Pavel Kuzin ⁸ gave her the phone number of a woman in Murmansk Oblast who worked with such issues. This woman [Natalia Osipenko] claims to be an ex-lesbian. She "helps" people overcome their homosexuality. My mother believed this woman. I was living in The Ark ⁹ where unpleasant situations kept happening ¹⁰.»

«The way it worked was: we had no phones, no phones whatsoever, so I couldn't call my mother and tell her what was going on. We were totally at their mercy. I was worried they might kill be. No one tried to do this, but if something had happened to me, I wouldn't have even been able to call 112. They all repeated the same thing: "You are like this because someone raped you or you had problems with your parents since your childhood". A year later, I started standing up for my basic rights. I realised that I could at least go to court or to that policeman who calmed my mother down. By that time I had already started believing that homosexuality was wrong, that it was disgusting and awful. At 22, I nearly killed myself.»

«There were mental health support groups: we sat in a circle, we talked and weren't allowed to hid anything. To be honest, I lied. I pretended to be perfect and good. There were other gay guys there, not just me. The ones who stayed with the religious organisation after they turned 18, nobody did anything about them. And if there's nothing you can do about yourself, who are you to do something about me? There were many interesting practices, but no electric shock and no atrocities like showing us porn, none of that took place. I try not to embellish anything and tell things how they were. Up to the age of 18 nothing was allowed. It was like being in prison, a real nightmare.»

⁶ Senior pastor of the Murmansk Christian Church (Evangelical / Pentecostal religious organisation) Kevin Webster: https://www.murmanskchurch.com/pastor­kevin­webster
⁷ https://companies.rbc.ru/id/1025100848960­ro­mestnaya­religioznaya­organizatsiya­hristian­veryi­evangelskojpyatidesyatnikov­murmanskaya­hristianskaya­tserkov/
⁸ Youth ministry leader of the Murman Evangelical Church: https://murmanchurch.ru/ministries
⁹ "The Ark of Salvation" rehabilitation centre, "Our City" autonomous social support, rehabilitation and adaptation NGO and https://www.rusprofile.ru/id/2455869
¹⁰ https://vk.com/club53757972 and https://www.rusprofile.ru/id/2455869

Interview 8.
«When my father found out that I was watching gay porn, he said: "Do you understand that this is wrong? That God will punish you? He will punish you and us, your parents, and grandma and grandpa. "Your sin will fall on them ..." – he started going on about this.»

«I continued to pray. Sometimes we prayed together for God to deliver us from sin. I lost faith in God a long time ago. And I already forgot what prayers there are. Nothing has changed and it got worse. My parents said that I was like this because I did not pray to God, and now everyone would go to hell because of me. It was painful to hear. They called me a monster.»

«My father made me pray and I forced myself to pray out of a feeling of guilt. "Pray to God and it will go away. You're a man and you have to endure it." I have depressive episodes. I had reactive depression. I don't know how to explain it's – it's a tension or pain inside that is growing ...»

«They tried to force me to go to confession to a priest.»
Interview 9.
«When my parents saw that I had cut my hands, they beat me severely and said, let the church and the priest help. They saw my behavior not as a medical problem, but as something otherworldly that possessed me and influenced my behavior. They bring me to church and tell me to let the priest tell me what is good and what is evil. My brain tried to forget this. I remember the smell of candles, the prayers and the holy water. They bought me a cross and told me what to wear.»
Interview 10.
«They take me into a room and cover me with a sheet. I'm not allowed to open my eyes. All this time, my mother was nearby, but there were several other girls as well. There were many men in the big room. One did the reading, the other walked around with a stick. There were these huge speakers from which we could hear the Qu'ran being read. It was so loud I thought my eardrums would burst. As he walks around, you have to stay lying down with your eyes closed. He walks around and can hit you with his stick at any moment. Fortunately, my mother was with me and warned him not to beat me with the stick. He beat the other girls with a stick whenever they would twitch. If their arm or leg twitched. He poked this stick hard in their stomachs. They said it was for the jinn to come out, to get him to move or make himself known. It was scary. Then they brought another man in. What happened next was one-on-one. They sat me down and blew in my mouth. His breath smelled terrible. He performed some rituals to see if I had a jinn in me or not. Mom was there all the time. I heard her talking to him, saying that she would take me to the mullah and who would give me some enchanted water.»
Mixed practices used to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity
In the process of trying to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the initiators sometimes switch from one method to another when they do not see results. LGBT+ persons themselves may come across several initiators who offer different methods and promise results.
Interview 11.
«My gender dysphoria was getting worse. We turned to a very well-known specialist in the area of transgender studies, Mr. Georgy Evgenievich Vvedensky ¹¹.»

«I immediately confessed my desires and peculiarities. I was taken aback because I came to him with an open heart, hoping that he could help me, but he said: "What are you thinking? What do you want from life? Do you want to be a faggod? Are you crazy?" He didn't even say "homosexual", he said "faggot". "So you want to be a faggot and have bottles shoved up your ass?" I swear! Those were his exact words – "bottles shoved up your ass". He was so rude. I was shocked that a Doctor of Psychology could talk like a criminal.»

«He said, "I'm going to treat you. Things are very bad. Do you want to cut your genitals off? Do you want to be castrated? Do you want to become an invalid? Do you want to be a social pariah?»

«The next time he took me to a different office. I was hooked up to some sensors. He smirked and said, "Do you know what I do and what we do here? In this building we examine perverts and maniacs"… It's not like he said I was one of them, but it felt like that was what he was saying. "I'm going to use the same research methods on you". I was hooked up to some sensors, like an EEG. And he started playing different kinds of porn for me.» «He made an interesting comparison to addiction. He said that transgenderness wasn't an illness in and of itself, but rather a type of addiction. And addiction has certain properties.»

«I had a strong feeling that I was sick and it was like being in prison. You come there, you show your passport and they accompany you in the corridors. It's a stigma and you're considered insane. And insane people don't have any rights.»

«They tried treating me with hypnosis, but to no avail.»

«He looks at me and says, "You're not a transvestite! You're a transsexual." He asked: "What do you want?" I said that I want to be a woman, so he went through the diagnostic points that differentiated one from the other. He says: "Well, that's it, you're done for." I left in tears ...»

«Yes, I can treat you, I can. Don't worry, I believe that transsexualism is a disease, but there may be a remission. And homosexuality is also a disease, but there can also be a remission ... I'll treat you, but you won't be healthy. Imagine that you do not have a leg. You can still walk with a stick. You'll be able to walk, just not very well.»

¹¹ Head of the Forensic Sexology Laboratory of the Department of Forensic Testing. Federal State Budget Institution "National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology named after V.P. Serbsky" of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation
EXPERT OPINION

Let's start with the basics. Hypnotherapy is considered a type of directive therapy. This means that it implies that a certain model is imposed on the person. By the same token, hypnotherapy only works when that model does not conflict with the person's sense of self. That's why, if I, let's say, try to convince a person that they do not have a certain fear that they would like to get rid of, it may well work. But if we try to tell a person to do or feel something that is in conflict with their real wants and needs, it will be fruitless. They say it might lead to a severe neurotic breakdown to the point of reactive psychosis if such a thing is imposed on the person.
DMITRY DMITRIEVICH ISAEV
psychiatrist, psychotherapist, sexologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, associate professor
«And there were all sorts of exorcists. I went to Kolomna for treatment. There was a blind seer. She said this: "Some kind of entity has attached itself to you. This often happens to boys during puberty. When you get home, you'll see a birch tree growing nearby. At sunset, go pick its leaves and dry them. When the moon appears, open the windows at the same time. You should be alone in the room. Wipe the cup with holy water, pour in some pure alcohol to make the leaves burn better, or just burn the leaves and scatter the ashes out the window. While the leaves are burning, look at yourself and the fire through the mirror. The being will go.»
Interview 12.
«At the age of 15, my parents found out about my homosexual orientation. They took me to a psychiatrist, but he said that everything was fine, and he told them that they should accept their son. My parents attacked him and accused him... Then they took me to a government clinic in Moscow. There was another psychiatrist there who said I was a pervert. For about a year and a half, he provided consultations to me and my parents. He pressured me and said that I should give up my orientation, but I remembered that the first doctor told me that it was OK, and this probably helped. This one told me that I would never have children, but he was mistaken, as I know now. He assured me that I would definitely get AIDS and no form of contraception would help me. The psychiatrist told my parents that they should get me hormone therapy, since my homosexuality is a result of a malfunction of some sex hormones. He accompanied me and my parents to various clinics to do tests and took the test results away. At the same time, he forced me to say that my "diagnosis" was "homosexuality" to all the doctors and staff there." "Because of the hormonal drugs, my weight started to fluctuate. It was all to no avail because I did not change. Eventually, this psychiatrist told my parents to find a woman who would be ready to sleep with me. We had an asocial neighbor. Her parents brought her. They locked us in a room and said they wouldn't let us out until we "did it".»
Interview 13.
«She was the head of the department of psychology, and she conducted sessions with me. My sister took me there. We only had about three meetings. At the very first session the psychologist told me: "I'm not forcing you to do this". She explained the situation to me: I was about 20 years old and "by the age of 35 you might start having success with women, or not." She gave no guarantees at all. In her view, I made a mistake at some point, and that my attraction to men is wrong and I am mentally ill. She said it was something I had to work on and have sessions 3 or 4 times a week. We tried hypnosis as a method of altering my consciousness, as well as other practices. We stopped having the sessions because I began to resist.»
Near-conversion practices used to change a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity
Some practices are difficult to separate from domestic violence and homophobic violence in the family. Systematic threats, beatings, control, arguments – all this is not officially classified as "conversion therapy", but a deep conviction that sexual orientation and/or gender identity can and should be corrected often forms the basis of such family relationships.
Interview 14.
«When I was about twenty years old, my parents called the doctor. The doctor came over and he sympathised with me. So the doctors didn't treat me. But my parents tried to treat me. They used their own methods and tried to hospitalise me.

This left a mark on my relationship with the parents.»

Such practices imperceptibly infiltrate various spheres of our life, not only our family, but also our friendships, including friendships between teenagers. Friends and girlfriends may be driven by the most sincere and kind motives, just like the parents.
Interview 15.
«When I was thirteen years old, I realised that I liked girls and didn't realise my gender identity. When I told my friend everything, she said that it was wrong and that I had to fix myself. For a week she showed me pictures of guys. It sounds funny now, but back then it was very serious. When I turned nineteen, in May of 2020, I realised my gender and came out to my girlfriend and close friend. I tried to change my gender myself when I realised this, because I started coming across many problems after I'd realised it. For a few months I just tried to use the feminine grammatical gender, but it was even worse.»

Sexual coercion, homophobic rape are some of the most severe practices that are often hushed up, and police reports are rarely filed in such cases, especially if the sexualised violence is initiated by family members.
Interview 16.
«Actually, when I was eighteen or twenty years old, my parents convinced me that I had to try sex with a man... They said I just needed to find a good man. They even tried to marry me off. We found a good man who had a dacha and a car. I can say that the sex was, firstly, done under pressure, and secondly, I had little information at the time. I had to leave their city when they decided to marry me off.»

It should be noted that all the respondents who agreed to share their experiences were provided with access to psychological support and legal assistance free of charge.
STEP 3.
INTERVIEWS WITH SURVIVORS OF "CONVERSION THERAPY" PRACTICES IN RUSSIA.
03
After systematizing the open-ended interview data, we identified four main areas of «conversion therapy» practices in Russia:
  • the medical approach;
  • the psychotherapeutic approach;
  • the religious approach;
  • the esoteric approach.

Several volunteers agreed to take part in the experiment. The main objective of the experiment was to collect up-to-date data on the practices of "conversion therapy" in Russia. Before participating in the experiment, volunteers signed an agreement and consent form to participate in the study, and received legal advice. We paid special attention to the safety of the participants of the experiment. Like with the interviews, all participants were provided with access to psychological and legal assistance. Volunteers recorded the date and time and their condition and made an audio recording of the visit for research and security purposes. In selecting possible service providers, we not only approached those service providers who were named in the interview, but also randomly selected medical centers, psychics and psychologists who could be potential service providers.
The medical approach to "conversion therapy" practices in Russia
Visit 1.
Service Provider: "Hope" Center of V.V. Madorsky ¹², Rostov-on-Don, Ul. Filimonovskaya 78, kv. 46, Rostov-on-Don, Prospekt Stachki 342.

Doctor: Mikhail Albertovich Samorodov
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
The course of the consultation: taking down the request, consenting to providing the services of changing the person's sexual orientation, "education", referral for a pathopsychological study.

From the consultation:

• We need to understand where the problem lies and why you were attracted to girls, initially.

• Let me just give you an example and you will say whether that's the case for you or not. Because at the heart of all these deviant sexual orientations are two principles. The first is endogeneity. This is not exactly a disorder, but it's a kind of in the brain. The main way in which it manifests itself is that the brain starts working like a computer whose wires don't work correctly. For a person this means that they cannot tell the difference between the main and the secondary. In intimate relationships, the main thing is that there is a person of the opposite sex. And when we don't care who we get pleasure from, whether from same-sex love or opposite-sex love, then this is, let's say, confusing the main with the secondary... And the second factor is that it is much more difficult to connect with people of the opposite sex than with people of the same sex. With people of the same sex, everything is clear, easy and simple. With the opposite sex, everything is difficult. I also have male clients who prefer homosexual relationships because there is no beast worse than a woman.

• We will assume that these are psychological problems, which, I will not say that they are quick to resolve, but they are rather easy to get rid of. After you pass these tests – it's an experimental psychological study – it will be clear in what way you are broken, exactly. And why you – a girl who is smart and pretty enough – chose not the best way to satisfy your sexual needs.

• [Have you worked with gay women before?] Yes. There were also several unsuccessful, let's say, experiments, but there the situation was a little different. A girl wanted me to give her a certificate in order to undergo an operation – to remove her mammary glands. At the same time, she did not intend to change her sex, that is, she was not going to change her primary sexual characteristics, but she wanted to remove her breasts. Naturally, the surgery department sent her for examination they were trying to get her out. But she still continued to insist on her plan. Eventually, they gave her a certificate that said that she wasn't at all a boy deep down inside, and I don't know what happened to her after that. They didn't give her the certificate she wanted. They gave it to her on the basis of objective data that showed that she did not possess the psychological characteristics that would allow her to be considered a boy. She got offended and called us charlatans.

• We now have a girl here. She is fourteen or fifteen years old. Natalya Vladimirovna supervises her. She's the one who is also in a manic state, but she tells anyone who is willing to listen that she is LGBT. She even harassed one of our patients and bit her on the neck. All this because the parents decided it was unnecessary to give her injections, so she was in a manic state and harassed all the pretty girls.

• And then we will work with psychological causes, that is, delve into the subconscious, work with images, if necessary, hypnosis, there are NLP practices, well, in general, there are a lot of tools that are suitable and I can't say in advance which ones we will use. Plus medical treatment... Not even treatment, but add- back treatment to remove the anxiety and emotional stress that interferes with the treatment. These will be typical neuroleptic drugs, which we will pick out for you. Antipsychotics, tranquilisers, possibly antidepressants or normative drugs that will even out your mood. I'm talking about the dips in your mood when you might mock a boy and write to him, it [mood] can become, let's say… you might get mood swings.

• Let's just say, weekly sessions for between six months and three years.

Recommendations:
• Reading: Mikhail Efimovich Levak "Principle of the Sperm", "Psychological Vampirism", "Adventures of a Cowardly Lioness", "Adventures of the Eternal Prince". Novoselov "Woman. Textbook for men. John Gray "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". Sergey Viktorovich Kovalev "We come from a terrible childhood", "NLP, a program of happy fate." Read and take notes.
• Writing the scenario of oneТs life from birth.

• Sex with men, pseudo-psychotherapeutic treatment, drug treatment, hypnosis.

¹² https://madorskiy.ru/контакты
Visit 2.
Service provider: «Rescue» ¹³ Clinic, Moscow, Ul. Gabrichevskogo, 5k10
Doctor: Irina Ruslanovna Iliukhina, psychotherapist and doctor
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: gathering data, narrowing down the request, exploring barriers and resources.
Oriented towards accepting one's sexual orientation.

Recommendations:
Psychotherapy, assistance during the period of coming out.

¹³ https://chastnaya­psihiatricheskaya­klinika.ru
Visit 3.
Service provider: "Cordia" Clinic, Ul. Starye Kuzminki 5 ¹⁴
Doctor: Dmitry Konstantinovich Goncharov
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: gathering data, narrowing down the request, exploring barriers and resources.
Oriented towards accepting one's sexual orientation.
From the consultation: refused to provide pharmacological treatment, provided a consultation on accepting oneself and one's sexual orientation, referred to SOGIE specialists.

Recommendations:
Psychotherapy and referring to a psychologist specialising in SOGIE issues.

¹⁴ https://cordia­psychiatry.ru
Visit 4.
Service provider: "Transfiguration" Clinic, Moscow, Novodanilovskaya 15 Embankment, 4bldg2 ¹⁵
Doctor: Anna Savelievna Gening, board certified doctor
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: gathering data, examining the request, providing a medical conclusion, agreement to provide services connected to changing the person's sexual orientation, "education", supposes that the reason for the person's sexual orientation is resentment towards boys from her childhood, referral to a psychopatology examination.

From the consultation:
• The problem must be eliminated and its exacerbation stopped.

• From our interview, I realised that you do not necessarily reject men. I have a feeling that maybe you are bisexual. These people live on the edge. They can have families and subsequently satisfy the needs of society as well as their own.

• We get transsexuals, too. Boys want to be girls, girls want to be boys. We are able to help them... What matters is acceptance. Gay and transsexual people are not accepted and this causes anxiety. Society puts forward demands that conflicts with your inner self. It's important to figure out what you want.

Recommendations:
Continue to work with the fear of sex with men.
Try and practice sex with men.
Create a marriage contract with a man, including agreements on how many times to "be with your husband in bed.
"Get a notebook to write your thoughts for forty minutes a day about your life, your past and your future.

¹⁵ https://preobrazhenie.ru/doctors/
Visit 5.
Service provider: Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology named after V.P. Serbsky" of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Ul. Poteshnaya 3k10 ¹⁶
Doctor: Igor Yulievich Kan
Request: to understand what is happening and change one's homosexual orientation or gender identity, transgender woman in the process of transitioning, heterosexual.
Course of the consultation: gathering data, determining the request, agreement to provide services connected to changing the person's sexual orientation, "education".

From the consultation:

• You didn't come to me and say: "Let's cut off my penis and give me a pair of breasts." What's the issue if you change your gender? If you just have a homosexual attraction and practice sex with men, then in general you are more or less a free person.

• Some might say that there is no treatment or no such thing exists – that's not quite true. Everything depends on how much you want it.

• Are you ready for surgery? It's not even about operations: even if you go through pain, through all these other things, you will not necessarily become equal, so to speak, to a woman. You won't become one, you have to understand this, you and I are reasonable people.

• So they'll cripple you, they'll perform operations on your genitals, you'll stuff yourself hormones and you'll be at risk of cancer and all sorts of malignant tumors, regardless of what they write about it anyway.

Recommendations:
"You can start with masturbation. You start introducing female images, introducing heterosexual images. Let's say three weeks, four weeks for the first stage. If you manage to at least ejaculate while watching straight porn…"

"I cannot list all these stages. Everything is calculated individually. What I now propose is diagnostics. This will be a kind of violence against yourself, voluntary violence."

The doctor addressed the person by their passport name and did not ask which pronouns to use.

¹⁶ http://mniip.serbsky.ru
Visit 6.
Service provider: "Esculap" ¹⁷ multi-discipline medical clinic, Arkhangelsk, Ul. Loginova 21k1
Doctor: Natalia Viktorovna Kliukanova, psychiatrist
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: gathering data, examining the request, referral to a gynecologist.

From the consultation:
• A psychiatrist can only prescribe drugs, but such a sexual orientation is not treated by a psychiatrist, because it is treated either surgically or hormonal drugs are prescribed. [When you say "surgically", do you mean lobotomy?] Yes.

• I will prescribe medicines for you, and you will have to look for a psychologist based on Internet reviews.

• Check your hormone levels first. The gynecologist will select the treatment and everything will go back to normal. If it does not normalise, then work with a psychologist, plus pharmacological correction by a psychiatrist.

Recommendations:

Referral to a psychologist to "redirect one's attraction to men", referral to a gynecologist to correct one's sexual desire (to Anzhela Sergeevna Pan).

Doctor: Anzhela Sergeevna Pan, gynecologists
Service provider: "Esculap" multi-discipline medical clinic, Arkhangelsk, Ul. Loginova 21k1
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation by referral of the psychiatrist, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: intake evaluation, determining the request, 18 examination, excluded the possibility of "hermaphroditism" ¹⁸.

From the consultation:

• The issue is probably psychological, physiologically you are a woman. I'm not a psychologist and I want to know what I can do for you.

• Are you the only one in your family who is like this?

Recommendations:
Refused to assign hormone therapy for changing one's sexual orientation.
The gynecologist's hypothesis is that the patient's homosexual orientation is a result of a negative first experience.

¹⁷ https://eskulap29.com/arkhangelsk/
¹⁸ Direct quotation

Visit 7.
Service provider: "Phoenix" ¹⁹ Treatment and Rehabilitation Research Centre of A.O. Bukhanovsky, Rostov-on-Don, Voroshilovsky prospect, 40/128
Doctor: Anton Vasilyevich Diachenko, psychiatrist of the first qualification category, member of the Russian Society of Psychiatrists, member of the Professional Medical Psychotherapeutic Association.
Request: changing one's homosexual orientation, male, gay.
Course of the consultation: determining the request, gathering primary information, "education", allowed the use of practices to change the patient's sexual orientation, referral to a pathopsychological study.

From the consultation:

• You are very sensible. We mostly deal with people who are not so sensible. People with an irrational desire for what is often not worth showing. You have a problem that exists and exists without question. On the one hand, this is good, it is better not to get sick than to get sick, but this is something that cannot be removed. It's like having a certain physical feature, like, for example, a sixth finger. A sixth finger can be removed, but the shape of the palm will still remain. In terms of what to do... You will go through a series of sexological techniques to make things a little clearer.

• This is the right decision. But we will really figure it out. I think you will get an answer to your question. If you need psychotherapeutic work in one direction or another, then I will refer you to a good psychotherapist.

• We are not considering any electric shock treatment or lobotomy in your case.

• There are forms of homosexuality that arise from pathological attraction and take the form of addiction, so we treat it as addictive behavior. Certain drugs and psychotherapy are prescribed. For example, with bipolar affective disorder. In our conversation with you, I have not yet seen signs of either one or the other. For now, at least...

Recommendations:
Moving to St. Petersburg or another country.
Referral for a pathopsychological study to a clinical psychologist.
After some time, an openly lesbian woman turned to Anton Vasilievich Dyachenko. She actively uses feminine forms in her speech and she believes they are the reason he suspected her of having a schizotypal disorder.

¹⁹ https://centerphoenix.ru
EXPERT OPINION

If a specialist does not work with transgender and homosexual persons, they will attribute this to eccentric behavior and cognitive anomalies, and look for abnormal ideas that do not reach pronounced delirium, painful obsession, impaired thinking, and perceptual disturbance. And since the trans person will have gender dysphoria, this is absolutely "perfect" in order to identify a schizotypal disorder and say that it is congenital and persists throughout life.
OKSANA KORSUNOVA
psychotherapist, psychiatrist
Visit 8.
Service provider: "Renaissance" ²⁰ Mental Health Clinic, Moscow, Ul.Ugreshskaya, 2bldg148.
Doctor: Ilya Anatolievich Gubin, narcologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist.
Request: from the mother of a transgender person to change the gender identity of the child.
Course of the consultation: determining the request, intake evaluation, "education", referral to a psychopathological examination.

From the consultation:

• There will be no turning back. Or is this such a dominating thought that you can't think of the consequences and all you care about it transitioning now.

• What do you imagine the quality of your life will be like? Or maybe you should wait, and you have not matured as a person, because a person matures by the age of 25? [He asks questions but does not leave pauses between the questions for an answer.] Maybe expand your circle of friends?

• A person cannot, if he is a man, but feels he is a woman, or vice versa, he cannot create a family. Even if children appear physically, he must play the role of a father, but he is a woman, then this will also fail.

• In general, hormones shorten a person's life significantly. It's a very stressful type of therapy, I just don't know if you've read about it or not. Especially those people who are like drug addicts who do not want to talk about the consequences of drug addiction. They see everything through rose-tinted
glasses. Drug addiction still has consequences. And they need to be told that massive hormone therapy causes cardiomyopathy, and there are hormonal changes that seriously shorten their lifespan.

• Transgender people don't live long. That's number one. The inability to give birth is two. The third is a psychological thing... If the only child in the family is transgender... No one gives birth to a child for them to a dead-end of the family tree.

• You can try, but if this micro-society, these "gatherings" ²¹, remain your dominant source of communication, you will end up seeing a psychotherapist one day and going to your "gatherings" the next and there will be a gap, you won't know what to do with yourself.

• Now, I want to say, in general, there is some kind of wave coming from America about this transgender topic. What kind of induction is this. But it's one thing when they're children, and another thing when they're adults.

Recommendations:
Referral to a psychopathological examination and psychotherapy for the mother and the child.

²⁰ https://centerphoenix.ru
²¹ Social events with friends

Visit 9.
Service provider: Yan Genrikhovich Goland ²²
Doctor: Yan Genrikhovich Goland, 82 years old, distinguished doctor of the Russian Federation, psychotherapist, sexologist
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: initial consultation over the phone. Declined a request for an in-persona consultation on account of a request to change the time of the consultation.

From the telephone consultation:

• What is happening to you? … What kind of orientation did you discover? … Can you tell me what you do for a job? … What is your degree? Did some doctors refer you to me?

• Have you ever watched the American-Russian film, "On Love"?

Recommendations:
Write down your thoughts in a notebook. He sees the cause of homosexuality in the lack of attention from her father.

In general, it is important to note the general low level of knowledge among psychiatrists on the issues of SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression). Doctors have poor command of the correct vocabulary or do not use it when communicating with patients. Moreover, psychiatrists often allow themselves to openly moralise, thereby reinforcing social stigma and pushing them towards the practice of "conversion therapy".

²² https://goland.su
The psychotherapeutic approach to "conversion therapy" practices in Russia
Visit 10.
Service provider: "NeoVita" ²³ Clinic, Moscow, apartment complex "Dolina st Grez", Ul. Krylatskaya, 45k1, 1 floor
Doctor: Igor Kapitonov, psychologist, psychotherapist.
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: determining the request, gathering data, using trance-inducing techniques, discussion, using techniques similar to regressive hypnosis, discussion, recommendations.

From the consultation:

Repeat after me: "You are my ancestor. I am your descendant. This state has helped you somehow. But for me this state is a heavy burden. I am sorry you experienced this state. I want to help you and your state. But let's fill this state with colour".

Recommendations:
The psychologist found the reasons for the client's homosexuality in her first sexual contact with a man, while sex with a woman was not considered the first sexual experience. The conclusion was made on the basis of the fact of sexualised violence experienced at a preschool age that was "revealed" in the state of trance. Then, through "an appeal to the experience of ancestors" (practices from the field of regressive hypnosis, recognised as a pseudoscientific method that poses a danger to clients), the psychologist concluded that this state was acquired through a female ancestor. The danger of regressive hypnosis methods lies in the formation of illusions and false memories, usually traumatic, which increases the person's vulnerability. The entire session lasted about two hours. During this time, the psychologist violated the client's personal boundaries. The psychologist expressed an opinion about the presence of "true" and "false" homosexuality, suggested changing her homosexual orientation through contacts with men, reading books (Ruslan Zhukovets "How to curb emotions" for working with a state of fear, anger, anxiety) and practicing partner dance with men.

²³ https://neo­vita.ru
Visit 11.
Service provider: Dmitry Aleksandrovich Avdeev ²⁴
Doctor: Dmitry Aleksandrovich Avdeev, Russian Orthodox psychotherapist.
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian
Course of the consultation: determining the request, "education", recommendations.

From the consultation:

• I also like many men, their behavior and demeanor, the way they can take a punch. Say, I am impressed by our president and I sometimes watch how he conducts himself, and so on.

• I see you are a very hormonal person. I don't see what's below, but you are very feminine by nature. Sometimes, you know, there are so many reasons for homosexual behavior. There are organic reasons that make it very difficult. And very often there are a lot of emotional reversible disturbances, when a person, in general, somehow entered this problem from the wrong side and identifies himself wrongly.

• You'll have to return to the church, because without grace it is impossible to start taking communion. You can pray, but don't stand in front of the iconostasis too long. When you're making soup, making a salad, having some tea, taking a shower, say: "Lord, help, Holy Mother of God, save us, Holy Faith, Hope, Love, pray to God for us!" When you're walking to the subway, walking through the park, pray a lot and always. When you're overcome with despondency, take out your rosary and sit down in an armchair. 150 Mother of God prayers, the 70th and 80th are prayers of the heart, drink a glass of sanctified water, read a chapter from the Gospel, make 3 bows. This exercise is like first aid for depression.

• Don't forget the Martyr Tryphon. I call him the chief psychiatrist, God rest his soul. Recommendations: prayers and communion. The psychotherapist suggested that the reason for the client's homosexuality lies in the divorce of her parents and the behavior of her father.

²⁴ https://www.daavdeev.ru
The religious approach to "conversion therapy" practices in Russia
Visit 12.1.
Service provider: Protestant churches in Russia Request: changing one's homosexual orientation, male, gay.
Mentor: Natalia/Tatiana from the city of Kovdor

From the consultation:

• I can tell you right away that this problem cannot be solved without the Lord. You can learn how to somehow live and restrain yourself. But you understand that this is still not freedom. But we want to live and want a family. Don't think that we are a cult. The creators of this website ²⁵ ²⁶ are believers. I can refer you to a person who also deals with these matters.

• Well, I want to tell you that homosexuality is a result of poor upbringing. Especially when the father isn't in the picture. Well, you said that there was no father – this is the main reason. Everything stems from there. For many years you were brought up one-sided. You are still young and you can start a family if you put your mind to it. It's not a matter of one year, perhaps. You're too young to start a family. You still have a problem, and you will end up cheating.

Recommendations:
Referral to another mentor in Moscow.

²⁵ http://territoriao.info/zarabotal­sajt­pomoshhi­lyudyam­imeyushhim­nezhelatelnoe­vlechenie­k­svoemu­polu/
²⁶ http://nastoyashie.online/контакты/

Visit 12.2.
Service provider: Moscow Church of Christian Growth
Mentor: Olga Romanova, pastor's wife.

From the consultation:

• This is also the hand of God. At a certain point, God said that I have a people for you. I say yes, come on, let's do it. And just like that at that moment I remembered I had an acquaintance I wanted to help, since he was quite a lot of years old.

• How does it all happen? First, we take apart the foundation of your life. Yes? Most of the time it's... uh... bad relationships with men. Why am I in favor of going to this church. Here everything is set up like this: God created a place where there is a youth ministry, where there is youth, there are men, where there is live communication, where there is men's ministry when men are all together, where there is a pastor, I am the pastor's wife, who knows about your problem [referring to sexual orientation]. No one else will know about it, but you will overcome it. You will fall in love. And you will have to fight it. There will be other things. You will have to overcome a bunch of all sorts of things... and get liberation, so to speak. Healing, release, change, whatever you want to call it. The term "healing" - I don't like it.

• We had some gatherings and will probably gather again in September. The course is 10 lessons, and there is 1 lesson per day. The programme is very extensive. September will be here in no time. We also have the camp.

• Eventually, you must come to the point of distinguishing your human natural desire from adultery and the sin of lust. When you get lust, well, it'll be gone in a couple of years. Maybe it will happen faster, but depending on how you go about it...

• Network marketing is taken from Christianity. Except that Christ was removed from there. They also raise leaders. Those leaders raise other leaders and so on. That is, they raise the person who sells. Sells a product. Here Christ is for sale. Except He's not for sale, right? Christ was originally here, and then He died, as it turns out, on Friday. On the third day he came back to life…
Visit 12.3.
Service provider: "The Ark" Rehabilitation Centre, Rikolatva, Kovdor Region.
Mentor: Pastor Aleksandr Mikhailovich Molchanov.

In the village of Rikolatva, near Kovdor, there is a rehabilitation center called "The Ark". On June 16, 2021, a volunteer was admitted to the rehabilitation center for 3 days.
The center's staff and mentors see homosexuality not only as a sin, but as addictive behavior similar to chemical addiction. The main method of "treatment" is prayer and self-restraint and the creation of a heterosexual couple with the consent of the mentor. Homosexuality, although perceived by them as a form of addiction and compared with alcohol addiction and drug addiction, is considered by employees to be a more terrible sin than even killing a person.

From consultations while staying at the Ark Center:

• As such, we do not provide physical treatment. Here everything is based on the Word of God and prayer. That is, we will read the word of God and pray about our problems. But please don't tell anyone about your problem. Only Alexei Mikhailovich and I know.

• Pray for an hour, 2-3 times a day.
It looks very strange: everyone gathers around a dark TV screen, look at it and listen to prayers.
Volunteer
• It must be hard for you, but I'll fast for you, so that God will give you grace... A day, sometimes more. In order to serve or help you walk this path, to change. That's what I'm here for. We once drank away everything that we could. We came to church, we prayed, there were doubts, we fell, we stumbled, we had a lot to realise...[The person everyone is fasting for is served food while he or she watches how the others are starving].

• This [homosexuality] is a problem, because sin distorts your image. Sin did not destroy the image of God in man, but distorted it. For an alcoholic and a drug addict, this distortion starts to become visible externally. • Do not surf the Internet, no calls, only necessary call. You can make a call from my number if you need to, so that they know where to find you, that this is your decision [phones are taken away in the center and there is no way to contact the outside world].

• Do you actually want to get rid of it? Are you doing this purely for safety or do you think it's wrong? Do you have doubts about the correctness of your behavior? If it's a matter of security, then God won't help you either... It's not about not being put in jail, but about not being punished by God.

Pastor Aleksandr Mikhailovich Molchanov:

• Yes, God created man in the image and likeness of God, but our God is not a hermaphrodite and not a sexual maniac, everything is clearly laid out for him.

• I know that nothing is impossible for God. You can change your social circle. As for thinking – we will help you here now. We will give you the basics even in this short time. But you still decide your lifestyle for yourself. If you decide to move here, no problem. When you firmly stand on Christian ground, you will have no problems finding work. If you are a good programmer, well, no problem, you will work at the plant [JSC Kovdor Mining and Processing Plant] and that's all.

• We have a program where a person stays here and then in the city, and we arrange a job for him. We have a name and authority. That is, we don't have problems because if we say that this person is fit to be hired, we have security guards there, everything is top form. It's God's will and that person will be employed.

• You need to replace attraction to men with attraction to Christ. This is something that requires neither medication, nor investment. It works.

• A boy should always have a father, because if a boy does not see a real male image, then he keeps looking. Animals have the same thing, any female she teaches her children certain skills ...

• People who do such things, they will go to hell.


And for me this is a serious issue. In the conversation, Pastor Aleksandr compares a man with a dog and says that "God does not make mistakes." He compares homosexuality to some kind of anomaly. The system of conversion therapy in "The Ark" is based on indoctrination, breach of personal boundaries, there are no locks in the toilet and shower, the beds are in a common room without any partitions. To explain the sinfulness of homosexuality and the need for "correction", a mix of various near-scientific facts is used. Staying in such a remote place without the opportunity to leave it has a devastating effect on a person's will. This is a system of humiliation and fear and the destruction of dignity. Various defense mechanisms are triggered, while survivors themselves justify the initiators and performers of the practices. The life of this Protestant commune is riddled with sexism and total control. So, members of the community can choose a partner only from the commune and with the approval of their mentors. In general, the whole system of changing one's sexual orientation comes down to prayers, frank conversations about God and mutual control. The village of Rikolatva is located far from the cities. The nearest city is Kovdor (57 km), and it's another 290 km from Kovdor to Murmansk. In the village, there is little mobile signal. Without documents, money, it is difficult to leave the territory on your own, you need to negotiate with drivers both in summer and in winter. At the same time, the church itself and the rehabilitation center have support from the churches of Norway and missionaries from Norway come to the center and support its work.
Visit 13.
Service provider: Islamic healer

The group is dedicated to issues of spiritual development and spiritual practices, an important component of which is the issue of spiritual healing. All this is based on Muslim teachings (egregor), but is open to representatives of other religions and denominations. The basic rules are having a pure soul, a pure consciousness and sincere intentions. They treat diseases according to the Qu'ran, get rid of jinns,provide treatment from sihr, witchcraft, corruption and evil eye; remove darkness and negativity and offer spiritual cleansing of a person or a space.

Request: change one's gender identity, transgender woman.

From the consultation:

• You can't write off problems with the psyche and psychology. Mystical and esoteric teaching say that there is a female soul in you. Maybe you have some unfinished business from a past life or something. It may be something from your upbringing, as a rule.

• I'm not talking about that. It's about appearance, behavior, clothing. Naturally, there are certain stereotypes of behaviour and clothing in Caucasian society, and you do not yet meet them. I understand that they point fingers at you.

• Let's get being possessed out of the way. Have you ever thought that you might be obsessed? Have your heard voices in your head or had a feeling that someone was talking to you and you didn't know if it was happening for real? What kind of dreams do you have? Were there wild animals? Snakes? Spiders? Or wolves, I don't know.

Conclusion: all clear, not possessed.

Recommendations:
He sees the reasons for being transgender as psychosomatic. He suggests Islamic diagnostics to identify psychological blocks from the patient's childhood that influenced their gender identity. Referred to a Muslim psychologist. He looked for the reasons in the patient's upbringing and lack of paternal attention.
The esoteric approach to conversion therapy practices in Russia
Visit 14.
Service provider: «Cassiopeia» ²⁷ Centre (contact with extraterrestrial civilisations, Voronezh
Chaneller of extraterrestrial civilisations: Nadezhda Kurnova
Request: changing of one's homosexual orientation, woman, lesbian

From the consultation:

• You need to get a drink. Because now I will start to turn off the body, and you wonТt be able to satisfy your thirst. Take five deep breaths in and five breaths out. Close your eyes and relax. WeТre trying to explore: УI am the universe. Repeat after me. The universe is me. The power of the universe is my power. And my spirit is part of the flow of existence. Creator of all worlds. His power will be directed to the benefit of all beings. Dwelling in all worlds and planes of existence. Reality will abide in truth. And the lies of the illusion of perception will disappear forever.Ф How do you feel after saying this? Moving on. I will take you through the meditation, perhaps I will use the informal «you».

• My Higher Self, please tell me, am I a lesbian because the memory of my past incarnation, where I was a man, is not completely blocked?
[Yes, absolutely.] And what is my lesson in this lifetime? [Humility and following your true destiny] And please tell me, should I, in this incarnation in a female body, know the experience of a woman? [Yes, you must do this] Please tell me how to synchronise these energies? [Meet and fall in love with a man] Can training at the Cassiopeia center harmonise my energies and fulfill my destiny? [Yes, if the training is conscious and complete from start to finish].

Recommendations:
Homosexuality is a consequence of your past lives. You need to "connect once a week. 21 days of meeting with your spiritual self. Training at the Cassiopeia Center.

²⁷ https://vk.com/cassiopeia.center

In total, the volunteers made 16 visits and referrals to various prospective service providers. It is important to note that only in two cases did the service providers refuse to change the patientТs sexual orientation and gender identity, work on the patient's acceptance of self and their sexuality, and discuss social pressure as the main cause of internalised homophobia.

In general, all service providers contacted by volunteers have a little command of respectful vocabulary and a lack of knowledge in the field of SOGIE. Of those who agreed in one way or another to attempt to change the patientТs sexual orientation and/or gender identity, none referred the patients to professionals working with the LGBTQ community.
Main conclusions
Conversion therapy in Russia can be divided into two types: typical practices based on coercion and violence, and practices based on ignorance and the pursuit of financial gain. As long as the patient is willing to pay for meaningless and crippling practices, professionals are willing to work on changing the person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Even when correct facts emerge during the counseling process (that homosexuality is not a disease, that it cannot be cured), they still often begin to act on changing the person's sexuality. Condemnation and moralising are the main phenomena accompanying this process.We have a strong impression that the practice of conversion therapy in Russia is based on ignorance, financial gain and institutionalised homophobia/transphobia. In this study, we were limited by ethical and safety requirements, so there were no situations in the experiment when parents asked to change the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of their minor children. But we can already say now that with a high degree of probability such parents will find offers in the wide market of conversion practice services. The elimination of the law on propaganda and the adoption of an anti-discrimination law in Russia would make it possible to change the situation and protect LGBT+ people from the traumatic practices of "conversion therapy". As a result of the study, the Moscow Community Center for LGBT+ initiatives has started accompanying three applicants/persons on the path to protecting their rights.