An Australian man has launched a petition calling on the government to outlaw anti-gay conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy survivor Chris said the process was tremendously damaging to his mental health, and others have been similarly affected.

“Trying to ‘pray the gay away’ nearly killed me. I’m not the only one,” he wrote in the petition.

“So-called conversion therapy can cause depression, self-loathing and even suicide. I prayed to God asking him to either heal me, or kill me.

“I was so depressed, I wanted to die.”

Gay conversion or ‘ex-gay’ therapy can range from counselling to exorcism to coerced sex.

It has been condemned by numerous bodies including the United Nations, the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Medical Association.

Chris was sent to a religious gay conversion therapy program by his church when he was aged 17.

He said he had been ashamed of his sexuality from an early age.

“I was still vulnerable and desperate enough to join the program, hoping it would be my cure and help me to be a better Christian,” he wrote.

“It took years of healing after leaving the program to be proudly gay. But those years still affect me somewhat… how could they not?

Chris is now calling for the kind of anti-gay program he went through to be condemned and banned by the federal government.

“I don’t want to see a single kid harmed by ‘therapies’ telling them that something that is innate in them is evil or demonic or needs to be ‘healed’,” he wrote.

The petition has so far gathered nearly 1,500 signatures, and will be sent to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

Victoria last year announced that the new Health Complaints Commissioner would investigate and ban anyone attempting to practice gay conversion therapy in the state.

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