In 2014, we heard about Xiao Zhen, a young gay man in China who was fighting against horrible gay "cure" centres across the country.
Gay rights activists have launched legal proceedings in a Beijing court against a clinic that advertises "conversion therapy" in Chongqing. "Homosexuality doesn't need to be cured!" about ten activists chanted outside the court as the case opened on Thursday.
Although being gay is legal in China, some people in the country still consider it a "disease" that can be "cured". Feeling pressure from his family and China's conservative society to change who he was, Xiao Zhen found a treatment centre that claimed it could "cure" him from being gay.
It was a truly horrible experience: "They hypnotized me and gave me electric shocks," Xiao Zhen told us. "They made every effort trying to stop me from being gay."
Xiao Zhen realized the "treatment" was totally fake and took the clinic to court for selling false "cures". He then teamed up with All Out to make his fight global.
Together, we launched a huge online petition, demanding that the then-head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, condemn these fake anti-gay "cures," reaffirm that being gay is not a disease and call on all countries to ban so-called "conversion therapies."
Over 100,000 people signed our international outcry against gay "cures", and our campaign received international media attention, including in The New York Times."
A 30-year-old man going by the pseudonym Xiao Zhen has attracted attention in recent months as the first person in China to file a lawsuit against a clinic offering "gay conversion therapy," treatments aiming to change sexual orientation that many medical experts criticize as ineffective and harmful.
To make our message go even further, we put together a powerful video of Xiao Zhen telling his story:
Our campaign was a big success: not only did Xiao Zhen win his case against the terrible anti-gay clinic, but he was even invited to a special meeting with the WHO in Geneva to explain why gay "cures" are so dangerous, putting this issue front and centre in the fight for love and equality worldwide.
A man may have taken a step closer to having the practice of gay "cure" therapy banned in China, as he has secured a meeting with the World Health Organization (WHO). The 30-year-old man who has only been identified by his pseudonym Xiao Zhen, filed his lawsuit back in July.
But gay "cure" clinics are still popping up in China and all over the world. We'll keep working with our partners to fight these dangerous practices whenever they come up.