HRC Blog

Anti-LGBT Books Stun Spain

Post submitted by Yushuang Sun, HRC Global Engagement Intern

El Corte Ingles, Spain’s largest department store chain, is stocking books that promote the ideas of “curing” homosexuality.

The books, “I Want To Stop Being Gay”, “How to Prevent Homosexuality” and “Gender Confusion in Childhood” are written by Joseph Nicolosi, an American psychologist and the founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. He is credited for his “therapeutic treatments” to “cure” a person’s sexuality. So-called reparative or "conversion" therapy is a dangerous and thoroughly debunked practice.

Spaniards have taken on Twitter to express their outrage and shame over the homophobic content of the books.

"My plan this afternoon is to go to El Corte Inglés and move all the books on preventing homosexuality to the science fiction section," wrote a user. lzquierda Unida, a Spanish political party, is calling for a boycott of the department stores after the retailers refused to remove the books.

Spain has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most LGBT-friendly nations in the world. According to the poll by Pew Research Center, 88 percent of those surveyed believes that homosexuality should be socially accepted. In 2005, it became one of the first countries to grant same-sex couples the right to marry and earlier this year, the country opened its first retirement home for LGBT pensioners. Madrid is also well known for its massive annual Pride parade, and the city will host World Pride in 2017. 

However, the situation for LGBT people in Spain is far from rosy. Discrimination is still alarmingly high among youth, where two out of five Spanish students “always” or “often” witness homophobic insults against classmates.

Just as the education coordinator for Spain's LGBT state federation Uge Sangil said, "Spain has come a long way in terms of legal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, but on a social scale there’s still plenty to do."

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