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Stop Conversion Therapy in Northern Ireland

It was recently announced that a film promoting Conversion Therapy will be shown in Belfast next week, Michael Palmer a member of the UUP got in touch with us to express his sheer outrage and to let the LGBTQ+ community know of a planned protest.

Michael provided the following statement:

I find it deeply disturbing that the film ‘Once Gay: Matthew And Friends’, which promotes the idea that homosexuality is a lifestyle that can be left and that a gay person somehow benefits from this, will be screened on Valentine’s Day in Belfast. This movie was created and funded by Core Issues Trust, a Ballynahinch based organisation that claims to practise “psychotherapeutic and counselling support for unwanted same-sex attraction.”

While some might say that this organisation has the right to express its views of practice, I take great issue with this whenever the Royal College of General Practitioners condemns conversion therapy, stating “being LGBT is not a disease, it is not a mental illness and it doesn't need a 'cure'. Any proclamations to the contrary risk causing harm to our gay and trans patients' physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as perpetuating discrimination in society."

The British Psychological Society similarly supports this position, stating conversion therapy is “unethical, potentially harmful and is not supported by evidence.”

Even a former leading ‘gay conversion’ therapist in America, David Matheson, who recently came out publicly as gay, repudiates “the idea that therapy can and should be used to change a person’s sexual orientation because it just can’t”, regretting his part in the practice of this ‘therapy’ and agrees that it should be “stopped”.

Currently in the UK, the national government has proposed to “prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy” as part of a wider LGBT equality plan.

I would encourage all LGBT people and allies to exert pressure on their elected representatives to support a ban on conversion therapy based on the recommendation of medical professionals and on the basis that conversion therapy is a pseudoscience that belongs to the history books along with all the other pseudoscientific practices.

Michael Palmer

Proud Gay Member of the Ulster Unionist Party

A protest to the screening of the film ‘Once Gay: Matthew And Friends’ is being hosted by The Rainbow Project. Details:

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