These Graphic Photos Show The Horror Inside Ecuador’s Torture Clinics That ‘Cure’ Homosexuality

In a photo series titled “Until You Change“, Ecuadorian artist Paola Paredes reveals the brutality of secret rehab facilities which convert homosexuals. Disguised as religious “clinics”, it forms a part of alcoholics and drug treatment facilities where for $500-$800 a month, they also ‘cure’ gay people.


Paolo Paredes

Photographer Paola Peredes first came into the limelight with photo series “Unveiled” which shows her coming out to her family around a dinner table.

For this photo series, she used three different cameras to capture every emotion in detail.

Unvelied/Paolo Paredes

In her website she writes, “Many parents and families still believe that homosexuality is an addiction; a sexual disorder that they believe that  can be “cured” by some harsh discipline.”

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  • Paredes had no clue about the ‘torture clinics’ until a friend told her about them four years ago and she knew it was going to be her next project. She started working on it in 2015, and spent six months interviewing a woman who had been sent to one of these religious ‘clinics’ by her parents. 

    Paolo Paredes

    Given the secrecy of these shady facilities,  she went undercover with a microphone, hidden in her bra. With first person accounts, she reconstructed the scenes based on real life accounts and used herself as the protagonist.

    Paolo Paredes

    In the country 80% of the population is Catholic and homosexuality is still something that’s looked down upon. 

    “These staged images allow us to see what was never meant to be seen. The perversion of pills and prayer books; the regime of forced femininity in make-up, short skirts and high heels; torture by rope or rubber gloves; the spectre of ‘corrective’ rape.” she writes.

    Paolo Paredes

    She reveals that lack of vigilance by the Ecuadorean government makes most of these to evil go practices to go scot-free. Torture in these clinics includes, ” use of restraints, tranquilizers, beatings, withholding of food, and other forms of humiliating treatment. Patients are kidnapped and drugged against their will by their own family.”

    Paolo Paderes

    “In my attempt to take the viewer inside these secretive buildings, the scenes act as a mirror to the inner pain of the young woman. She is told she is sick, sinful, a deviant in need of curing,” adds Paredes

    This gripping photo series is her way of educating people about this deviant practice and the need to take action. But in her words, the ‘government’ complicit attitude’ make it harder to regulate these clandestine places and the horrendous torture that goes on inside.

    With the pphotographs she uploaded a video to Vimeo that documents the making and captures some of the specific traumatic experiences of victims in these facilities. 


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