Yanzi Peng, an openly gay man in Beijing, China, made waves in 2014 after suing a gay conversion clinic citing emotional and physical damages.
AJ+, a global YouTube network, followed Peng on his journey to inform Chinese media about these dangerous therapies amidst China’s strongly homophobic culture.
In the video, Peng explains how Chinese culture expects men and women to follow a conservative path, entering heterosexual marriages and having children. The inherent guilt that stems from this drives gay people to seek a “cure” for their “malady”… electroshock therapy.
Peng recounted the horrific scenario: “The therapist hypnotized me and he asked me to think about the sense of having sex with men. Then he electric-shocked me.”
A popular TV show, The Phoenix, asked Peng along with his friend, bisexual director of the Beijing LGBT Center, Ying Xin aka “Iron,” to come on air and discuss these inhumane treatments.
The duo risked both being shunned by their families for coming out on TV, while also putting their families at risk for being ostracized within their communities.
“I’m actually worried about my father’s family,” Iron said. “I didn’t come out to my father. How can my family face the challenge from their neighborhood? I don’t want my family to be hurt.”
Iron also noted the importance of Peng’s lawsuit, saying, “It’s the first time an LGBT person has initiated this litigation. It’s very inspirational to the LGBT community.”
At one point in the video, Peng is informed that the doctor who performed these tactics on him was being questioned by the police following his appearance on TV. “The best result is the court pronounce that conversion therapy is illegal,” he said.
Fortunately for Peng, the verdict ruled in his favor on December 18, 2014. Just one victory in a long line of battles against this horrific practice.
Watch the inspiring video below.