Botswana’s Sunday Standard published a Dec. 13 story which begins by promoting the notion that heterosexual people can change their orientation to gay and then recruit other people into homosexuality.

The article cites only a single example: an unidentified woman who was “fed up” with abusive men and claims now to be lesbian even though she has only dated men in the past and she offers no indication of any previous attraction to women. “I can easily introduce one to the gay life and they will be hooked,” the woman says. The article adds, “She, however, is cagey and does not reveal whether she was introduced and trained in the homosexual world” — as if homosexuals lived in a different world than heterosexuals.

Caine Youngman, board president of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexual People of Botswana, tries to set the record straight.

He says there is a difference between heterosexual sex and being heterosexual, citing that homosexual people can indulge in heterosexual sex and heterosexual people can also practice homosexual sex but that’ not changing their sexual orientation. Youngman avows that his opinions are based on his personal experience, experiences of those around him, available literature and the confessions from different people.

“No, I do not believe that one can turn just like that. There are some institutions who call themselves “Ex-gay”. They believe they can turn gay people into heterosexuals. The results are questionable since some people say they just choose to ignore their emotions. I have a friend who was a member of such an institution who had to go under shock therapy as part of his transformation. He is still a gay man,” says Youngman.

Homosexuality and gay-rights groups are illegal in Botswana, and the media seem to be pressured by the government to apply an antigay spin to their articles. Besides spotlighting a confused, anonymous, and possibly fictitious woman, the article fails to ask a very basic and obvious question:

Is the Exodus Global Alliance aware of — and supporting — shock therapy in Botswana?