'A legal form of abuse': Conversion therapy is lurking in the shadows

A reveler flutters a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride Parade in Bogota, Colombia on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO LEGARIA        (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO LEGARIA/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN)For months, someone was trying to change Andy Taylor's sexuality. He just didn't know it.

"I had no idea what was going on," Taylor recalled, thinking back to a series of unnerving one-on-one meetings with a church leader in Liverpool, England, in 2012. "Even after I quit, I didn't fully realize that what I went to was conversion therapy."
But he was sure of one thing: "I just knew I didn't like it."
Taylor, an openly gay man in his early 20s, had been involved with a local church whose leaders had encouraged him to take therapy sessions. Unbeknownst to him until he stepped inside, the sessions were intended to make him believe that he was straight.
    These so-called conversion therapies, also known as reparative treatments, rely on the assumption that sexual orientation can be changed or "cured" -- an idea debunked and discredited by major medical associations in the UK, the United States and elsewhere.