A Brazilian judge has sparked outrage by overturning a court ruling that bans psychologists from offering 'gay conversion therapy.'
Waldemar de Carvalho, a federal judge in the capital of Brasilia, backed a psychologist who had her licence revoked for offering a treatment programme that claimed to "cure" gay people.
Evangelical Christian Rozangela Justino described homosexuality as "a disease" and advised her gay patients to seek religious guidance.
"I feel directed by God to help people who are homosexual," she told Folha de S Paulo newspaper in 2009.
Judge de Carvalho's decision to overrule the Federal Council of Psychology's ban on conversion therapy was widely condemned, with critics describing the ruling as regressive and medically unsound.
"This decision is a big regression to the progressive conquests that the LGBT community had in recent decades," David Miranda, one of the country's few gay politicians, told The Guardian. "Like various countries in the world, Brazil is suffering a conservative wave," he added.
Celebrated Brazilian singer Ivete Sangolo wrote on Instagram: "The sick ones are those who believe in this grand absurdity."
Pop star Anitta also shared her disgust in an online video, which has been viewed over a million times alreaxdy. "That's what happens in my country. People dying, hungry, the government killing the country with corruption, no education, no hospitals, no opportunities... and the authorities are wasting their time to announce that homosexuality is a sickness," she said.
Another critic tweeted a cartoon of three men beating a victim wearing a rainbow flag along with the caption: "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no."
The Federal Council of Psychology said de Carvalho's ruling "opens the dangerous possibility of the use of sexual reversion therapies" and vowed to contest it.
"There is no way to cure what is not a disease," Rogério Giannini, the council's president, said. "It is not a serious, academic debate, it is a debate connected to religious or conservative positions."