Friday, 24 April 2009

'Gay cure' protest - press release


A coalition of protesters in support of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) community will gather tomorrow afternoon outside a conference promoting so-called "aversion therapy" for gay people.

The conference, which is taking place over two days in central London has been organised by a religious group called Anglican Mainstream (AM) and will play host to the controversial American psychiatrist Joseph Nicolosi who claims to offer a ‘cure’ for homosexuality. 

The conference will also feature talks by another American psychiatrist, Jeffrey Satinover, on topics including "Myths we Live by: The Gay Gene, Once-Gay-Always-Gay, Gay Sex is just like Straight Sex" and "The Psychological, Cultural & Political Agenda of LGBT Activism: Past, Present & Future".

The protest movement, mostly driven by young activists (gay and straight) through the social networking site Facebook, aims to peacefully challenge the views expressed at the conference. At the time of writing the Facebook event page already boasted 164 "confirmed guests" and 324 people who said they might attend.

This however only represents those who heard about the rally through Facebook. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association and Stonewall have all spoken out against the conference. Schools OUT, the LGBT section of the Green Party, the Queer Youth Network and the Gay Activists Alliance among other have also helped promote the protest, together with hundred of individuals concerned by the divisive message propagated by the conference and its organisers.

While the Church of England does not support such therapies, Anglican Mainstream believes that these controversial ‘treatments,’ normally the preserve of Religious Christians in the United State, require more exposure and are attempting to bring the message to the UK.

Despite the claims laid forth by Joseph Nicolosi, the Royal College of Psychiatrists said there was no supporting evidence that these programs were successful, adding that such treatments could be damaging.

Nicolas Chinardet, who called the protest, said: "That some people are feeling uncomfortable about their sexuality is undeniable - however the reason for this is clearly to be found in the hateful rhetoric of people like Joseph Nicolosi and those who support them.

Rather than trying to push people to pursue the unattainable dream of becoming straight, would it not be better to exert a little Christian charity and be more welcoming and supportive of who they are in helping them accept themselves? 

Notes to the editor:

The protest is taking place outside the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW on 25 April 2009 between 13:00 - 15:00

Rates of Mental Health problems in the LGBT community (particularly in young gay males) are much higher than in the wider community

All major medical associations in the US and the UK have been clearly stating for at least two decades that homosexuality is not a disease and that it can therefore not be cured.

A few weeks ago, the Wellcome Trust published the results of research showing that a significant minority of psychiatrists and therapists are still attempting to help LGB clients become heterosexual despite a total lack of evidence that such treatment is beneficial or even safe. Whilst the ex-gay movement is alarming large in the US, it is shocking to see that this hatred has spread to the UK.

The Facebook event page:

Coalition of Gay and Straight People to Protest Outside Anti-Gay Religious Conference

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