IAMA victim of Aversion Project of South Africa, a forced gay-to-straight treatment program during the apartheid era. AMA
May 20th 2013 by 6287863300 • 28 Questions • 708 Points
For those who do not know what the Aversion Project of South Africa about, these are some reference http://aubreylevinvictims.wordpress.com/tag/aversion-project/
I was just turned 18 when I joined the SADF in 1985. Shortly I found that I was bissexual and began to engage in homosexual relationships with others. About a few months later the authority summoned me to enquiry and requested me to have the "treatment". They forced me to recognize I was a homosexual before my parents and colleagues. They applied electroshock treatment on me. The electroshock treatment last for over half a year, which failed to "cure" my "disease". Then they administered medication on me without telling me what that was actually about. When the effects of hormones therapy became irreversible, they presuaded me through continued counselling that only a change of sex can cure my disease. They pushed me to the operation table to have the gender reassignment surgery.
I was discharged from the military after the surgery, at the age of 21, with no psychological and medical follow-up. They changed my birth certificate and gave me new identity papers to recognize my new gender identity as a female.
I felt shame, anxious, depress after discharge from the military. I did not know how to live with the new gender role. Having been seen by my parents and others as a freak, I leaved my home and went to Johannsburg. As a woman with only secondary education, it was difficult for me to find a good-earning job in the male dominated society of South Africa. I found a job of waitress in a restaurant, which hardly supported my living and continued medication of hormones. I tried very hard to adapt.
I met my first husband at the age of 23 and married him a year later. He was not good to me and we divorced 3 years later. I met my second husband at the age of 29 and married him at 31. The second marriage also did not work and we divorced in just 3 years. At the age of 36 I met the present husband and married him a year later. I am now 45.
Here is the proof http://i.imgur.com/G60CNrc.jpg
EDIT : In regard to the allegations that the proof is fake or this post is fake, I have no response to the allegations. You can choose to believe it or not. In regard to all the supports, thank you very much for your encouragement.
Why didn't you just lie, and tell them you were cured, so you didn't have to have the operation. Genuinely curious.
Do you have breast implants?
You mentioned that the hormone treatment cause irreversible effects - what kind?
Thanks for doing this AMA. Has to be a hard subject to talk about.
They continued to show photos of nude man to arouse a "patient" and then use electricity to shock the patient when he arouse. A patient was considered as being cured when he no longer arouse when seeing photos of nude man.
No I did not have any breast implants.
After about half year of hormones treatment, I became impotent and hardly had an erection. Moreover, my breasts grew as a girl and after about a year of hormones treatment they grew to about B cup size.
yes, and so...
Have you ever fully adapted to "being" a female?
If given the opportunity, would you reverse the gender reassignment surgery?
What does your husband feel about all this? How did you first bring the topic up?
Did this cause your first two marriages to be unsuccessful?
After 24 years I have already fully adapted to being a female. However, it took me for at least 8 to 9 years to fully adapt to that. In the first few years I always thought of if given the opportunity I would reverse the gender reassignment surgery. Sometimes I even hated my body and felt ashame when looking at myself in the mirror. I felt difficult and uncomfortable in living as a woman and dealing with the unfairness others were treating me. It took about 8 to 9 years when I finally realized that I am now a woman and have to try my best living as a happy woman no matter I want it or not.
I hided it up from my first 2 husbands. I lied to them that I had my ovaries removed so I cannot give birth to baby. They did not know the truth all along.
For the present husband, I choose to be frank and honest to him and told him at the very beginning when we started dating. He was shocked at the beginning but chose to continue our dating after a few date of thinking and finally accepted what I am.
Have the doctors or the SADF ever been held accountable for their actions? And on a somewhat related note, do you feel that the equality clause in the bill of rights has made any changes for homosexuals in South African society?
The head of the Project, Dr. Aubery Levin, was held liable for the tortune done on the victims only in the recent years.
I do think that the attitude of South African society to homosexuals are changing, to a more positive directions. At least the South Africa is amongst the few countries in the world that legalized same-sex marriage and have enacted anti-discrimination legislation on the subject.
How did you cope with the sudden gender change? Did they not give you a choice to have the operation?
Yes and no. That was like something of hypnosis and they again and again presuaded me through "counselling" only a woman could have a normal relationship with a man and homosexual was evil and that the operation would be the best for me. They threatened me that if I did not have the operation the "treatment" would be continued until I was "cured". I agreed to have the operation "voluntarily" under such conditions.
Indeed, I never thought about what did it mean being a female and what the life of a woman would like. After the operation I did feel a little bit happy with that I could love a man as a "normal" woman. However, immediately I also felt difficult to adapt to the gender change.
In the first few months I thought it was only because I was not effeminated enough that other treat me as a freak. In order not to be seen by others as a freak, I tried my best to act and tune as a female. It took only a few months for me to do that. However, when I was completely passed, I began to felt the life as a woman is not easy, especially South Africa was still a male dominated society by that time. As a white woman I still enjoyed some privileges during the apartheid era, but the privileges as a white man was completely lost. I felt very upset and unhappy about that in the first few years.
Did you have any contact with other people in the program?
While not in any way condoning it, I would assume suicides did occur among participants in this program. Do you know anything about the rate?
Do you know if the SADF officials tried to cover up their negative results (I assume they would've had quite a few)? If so, how?
I have communication with a few of others in the Project, who were all colleagues I knew in the past. Fortunately noone of them committed suicide, but I do heard about a few of the people in the Project did suicides. I also heard about some people died in the surgery.
The SADF officials did cover up the negative results. Though they had formally made an apology to all victims in the late 1990s, the whole details of the Project was still covered up and there were many details which were still not known to the outsiders up to today.
Wait, so the authorities found out you were bisexual:
- gave you electic shocks
- gave your hormone treatment
- then turned you into a woman
How did that help anything from their perspective? 'Uh, Sarge I think that one of our guys likes meat and tuna' ... 'There's only one thing we can do with this guy Private - turn him into a woman'.
Please correct me if I have the wrong end of the stick here.
No, they found out I engaged in homosexual relationships with others and so need to be cured.
They first wished to cure the patient through electroshock, through aversion therapy. When that did not work they gave the patient hormones treatment, and then gender reassignment surgery. Their thinking was that only homosexual relationships were evil and a normal person should only either be a man who loved women or a woman who loved men. Therefore if a male patient loved men and could not be cured through the aversion therapy, they would help to "recitify" his sex to make him/her "normal".
How did the authorities find out about your homosexuality?
They caught me whilst I was having a kiss and hug with a colleague.
Did the colleague have to go through the same treatments you did?
Yes, I knew that he did have to go through the same treatments but I hadn't any contact with him after discharge from the military.
I saw you said that the head of the project was held liable, were you offered any compensation? Or was Dr Levin charged in any way? Such a massive crime surely can't go unpunished.
We are not offered any formal compensation. However, some victims, like me, have petitioned to the SADF for subsidiary and payment of continued medication and are receiving some financial assistance from the SADF.
Dr. Levin was charged in Canada and was sentenced to prison some years ago.
No, I never had sex with a woman after the gender change. Though I said that I was bisexual and did have sex with girls before, I was sure that all along I was more attract to men than women.
Since you considered yourself bisexual, have you had any relationships with other women since the surgery?
Also, would you have to have any before and after pics?
I am not trying to be rude, I have just never heard of this, and am fascinated.
No,I never had any relationships with other women since the surgery. Though I was bissexual and did have sex with girls before, I was sure that I was more attract to men than women.