All over the world, gay conversion therapy is a common practice. Aiming to ‘convert’ a gay person to heterosexuality, the practice has been criticised as abusive and may lead to depression and possibly even suicide.
And yet, it still remains legal in many parts of the United States and even the United Kingdom, which may come as a surprise given the recent steps forward on LGBTQ+ rights.
Unfortunately, the topic of gay conversion therapy is something that Ana Dragicevic, the woman at the centre of new Croatian documentary Sick (Bolesno) knows well.
When Ana was 16 she fell in love with a girl at school and after her parents discovered that she was gay, they sent her to a psychiatric hospital as a ‘drug addict’.
Though this wasn’t the case, after nine months Ana told Doctor Mirjana Vulin (the hospital’s director) that she was an addict, which led the doctor to try and cure Ana of her “disease”: homosexuality.
Although Ana was let out when she lied and told them that she’d fallen for a boy outside of the hospital, when she was released she told her parents that she was still gay which led them to send her back.
Kept away from other patients, Ana ended up spending five years (in total) at the hospital, making life difficult upon her eventual release.
Now, Ana has a fiancée named Martina and the two women plan to get married in Amsterdam.
However, Ana suffers from paranoia (she is concerned that Martina will betray her in the same way that her parents did) and she also has PTSD, is suicidal and is prone to self-harm; all of which she is on medication for. And, though Martina hopes that they can just move on and be happy, Ana is suing both Dr. Vulin and her parents.
Information on where to see Sick can be found on the Fade In (the film’s production company) Facebook page.