• A Belgian man is currently pursuing euthanasia because he cannot accept that he is gay. (BBC)Source: BBC
A Belgian man is currently trying to get doctors to agree to euthanise him after 17 years of failed gay conversion therapy.
By
Stephanie Marie Anderson

10 Jun 2016 - 1:24 PM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2016 - 3:21 PM

Sebastién* is a 39-year-old man in Belgium who has known since he was 15 that he is gay, but cannot accept it. After 17 years of failed therapy to 'cure' his sexuality, he is now seeking to be granted euthanasia on the grounds of "unbearable" mental suffering, the BBC reports.

“My whole life has led me to this, really,” he tells the interviewer. “My mother had dementia, so I wasn’t right, mentally. 

“All that was instilled in me, so I was extremely lonely, extremely withdrawn, very inhibited physically – scared to go out, scared of being seen, all the time scared, hugely shy.

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 “And growing up, I met a boy and I fell crazy in love. We were both 15. And it was just unbearable for me, you know? I didn’t want to be gay.”

Sebastién - who describes himself as being attracted to "young men and adolescent boys" says that he has been in love twice since then, with an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old, noting that he is "relieved to find" that he's capable of finding men outside of adolescence attractive.

“The moment when they put the drip in my arm – I’m not worried about that… For me, it’s just a kind of anaesthesia," he says, adding that the hardest part of it would be telling his family.

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Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002. Sebastién's inital request has been approved, but in psychiatric cases, he must be deemed legally competent, prove that his is in a state of “incurable, constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering”, and have three doctors sign off on his request.

"I have always thought about death. Looking back on my earliest memories, it's always been in my thoughts. It's a permanent suffering, like being a prisoner in my own body," he says.

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"A constant sense of shame, feeling tired, being attracted to people you shouldn't be attracted to - as though everything were the opposite of what I would have wanted."

The BBC notes that "there were 1,807 confirmed cases of euthanasia in 2013," but only 4% of them were for psychiatric conditions.

Watch the full interview here.

*not his real name

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.