Marlon James: ‘Gay cure’ priests performed an exorcism on me

Jamaican author Marlon James has revealed how he was tortured and exorcised by priests in Jamaica in an attempt to ‘cure’ his sexuality.

The novelist who was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in his mid-thirties was pushed into ‘gay cure’ therapy by preachers.

The ‘treatment’ which involved vomiting, prayer and exorcism, led to James fleeing Jamaica at the age of 37.

The ex-gay movement which carried out the treatment on James operates in Jamaica, where it is illegal for men to be gay and punishable with up to 10 years in prison and hard labour.

The movement strongly encourages heterosexual relationships and uses other radical methods in an attempt to alter sexual orientation and stop people pursuing same sex relationships.

James initially believe the cure worked.

According to The Times, he told an audience at the Hay Festival: “I thought ‘Great, I am getting rid of demons’, until I read up on the whole ex-gay thing.”

He added: “It is dangerously misleading and I think has been discredited. It is a really primitive and backward way of curing people.”

Last year, the 45 year old became the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker prize for his violent thriller, A Brief History of Seven Killings, which explores gay characters to reflect hypocrisy and being gay in Jamaica.

Jamaica is considered to be one of the more dangerous places for LGBT people to live, despite gay sex between females being legal.

The World Health Organisation has discredited ‘gay cure’ therapy, stating that it is damaging for a person’s physical and mental health.