Warning: This article contains details that may disturb some readers.
A Kiwi man who underwent conversion therapy as a young person has revealed the extent of the emotional trauma inflicted by the harmful practice.
Jim Marjoram, an author and the founder of silentgays.com, opened up about his experience with the supposed 'treatment' in a candid interview with The AM Show on Thursday.
Ahead of the general election in October, the Labour Government pledged to ban the pseudoscientific practice, which attempts to convert an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity using harmful psychological and physical interventions. It has been linked to severe mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
However, the Government continues to stay tight-lipped on when legislation banning the harmful practice will be rolled out.
Speaking to The AM Show, Marjoram said he underwent conversion therapy after becoming a Christian in his late teens. Homosexuality was widely unaccepted in the 1960s, and when Marjoram embarked on his "spiritual journey" and joined the church, he knew he had to become heterosexual. He said he was told by a Christian group that being gay was curable.
"We spent weeks trying to cast the 'gay demons' out," he said.
After about four weeks, Marjoram said he knew the 'treatment' was not working. However, he continued to undertake different forms of counselling and Christian therapy over the years in the hope of converting his sexual orientation.
"They offer false hope. They create this premise that it's wrong to be gay, you're broken somehow, but they can fix you. This premise, it creates such a dilemma in your head, psychologically it's called cognitive dissonance," he said.
"So you've got this thing: I can't change, but they're telling me I can."
Marjoram revealed he had long battled depression and suicidal ideation.
On Tuesday, Opposition leader Judith Collins said the National Party did not have a position on conversion therapy, despite the MP publicly denouncing the practice during an election debate last year. Her response received backlash on social media, with Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick lashing out at Collins on Twitter.
In a statement to Newshub on Wednesday, Collins' office doubled-down on the comment, reiterating that National "does not currently have a position" on conversion therapy.
"The National Party caucus has not discussed the topic of banning conversion therapy, and does not currently have a position on it.
"Until we have seen proposed legislation from the Government and discussed the details of this legislation as a caucus, Judith Collins has no further comment to make."
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said a timeframe as to when the legislation will be published and introduced could not be provided.
Watch the video above.