“I want to stop being gay”, “How to prevent homosexuality” and “Gender confusion in childhood” are the three controversial books currently on sale at Spain’s El Corte Inglés, the biggest department store group in Europe and the fourth worldwide.
All three books have been written by the same author: American psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, founder and former president of the US’s National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
The paperbacks, two of which have images of young boys on the front cover, are now also available in La Casa del Libro bookstore and online on Amazon.
“You can’t cure homosexuality, the World Health Organization has said so more than once,” Uge Sangil, education coordinate for Spain’s LGBT state federation (FELGTB) told The Local.
Asked whether she thought banning these books would go against freedom of speech, Sangil responded: “There has to be a limit; if your freedom of speech is not letting me be who I am and inciting others to hate me then you’ve crossed the line.”
Reactions to the news on Twitter have been overwhelmingly of outrage and shame, with references to “medieval heresy” and the “Spanish Inquisition” giving some insight into how strongly some Spaniards feel with regard to the outdated attitudes the books support.
“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,” Sangil concludes.
“Spain’s Catholic roots still promote these homophobic values.
“It’s not just the parents and the children who have to learn about sexual diversity and tolerance, the country’s education system and the people behind it need to promote these values.
“I would love to see a subject in Spanish schools which teaches children about sexual diversity and good citizenship.”