homosexual hand holding
© Christian Hartmann
Two members of the Swiss gay community at the EuroPride 2009 parade in Zurich.
A French doctor who claimed that homosexuality can be treated by alternative medicine is facing a Swiss government probe. The Geneva-based homeopath Jean-Yves Henry said homosexuality is "not a pathology but a special symptom."

Henry published a paper saying that homosexuality is a symptom of illness, and can be treated with homeopathy and alternative medicine depending on the patient's gender. Geneva regional health minister Mauro Poggia has urged the government body that oversees health professionals and patient rights in the Swiss canton to investigate the doctor's practice.

"For him, it would seem that homosexuality is an illness to cure. This element is enough to justify opening an investigation," Poggia told Le Courrier daily. The case was brought to Poggia's attention following significant backlash on social media, with Twitter users dubbing the French doctor a "clown," an "insult to science," and a "charlatan."

Jean Yves Henry claims to treat homosexuals with homeopathic pills. #Denoncetoncharlatan . He is an insult to science and to the title of doctor. #charlatan . It is an insult to Descartes and https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9thode_scientifique ...

For Jean-Yves Henry, general practitioner and naturopath, "Homosexuality is a symptom like any other, as could be headache or hay fever, etc.. I don't quite understand what the problem is."
In the article, available on his website, Henry says that "homosexuality is not a pathology, but a particular symptom (respectable lifestyle choice) of patients." He goes on to reference the Oedipus complex; a psychoanalytic theory in which the desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex makes up a crucial stage of normal childhood development.


Comment: The fact that the good doctor is clearly influenced by Freud makes the whole claim rather dubious. See: Sigmund Fraud? New bio traces Freud's journey from one crackpot idea to the next


The doctor, who is a licensed general practitioner in Geneva and has a homoeopathic practice in the neighboring canton of Vaud, then added that "it turns out that the homeopathic medical matter contains remedies presenting this symptom (attraction for a person of the same sex)... among many others."

When asked by Swiss public television RTS, Henry doubled down on his previous comments on homosexuality and his perception that it can be treated with alternative medicine. Comparing homosexuality to common, somewhat pesky minor illnesses, the Bordeaux-educated doctor said he does not understand the fuss caused by his article. "Homosexuality is a symptom like any other, as could be headache or hay fever, etc. I do not quite understand where the problem is," he said on RTS.

At the bottom of the article, a disclaimer has been added following the attention attracted by Henry's claims. "This 10-year-old article, which had never been controversial at the professional level, was primarily intended to make our students reflect on the relationship between medicine (sic) remedies and behavioral symptoms," the website reads.

According to Poggia, the Geneva commission will now investigate whether opinions expressed by Henry are independent of his medical activity or if he has endangered his patients or practiced illegal medicine.