Ex-gay man writes to MLAs after facing criticism in assembly debate on gay conversion therapy

May 8, 2021 by

by Philip Bradfield, Belfast News Letter:

Last month MLAs passed a motion from UUP MLAs Doug Beattie and John Stewart calling for a ban on gay conversion therapy “in all its forms”.

During the debate, Mr Beattie told MLAs: “Conversion therapy is humiliating and harmful, and having listened to testimonies of individuals who have undergone conversion therapy, it is clear that it has far-reaching negative mental impacts.”

He continued: “We have a charity, with charitable status and everything that goes with that status, conducting conversion therapies here in Northern Ireland.

[…]  However Ballynahinch-based Mike Davidson, CEO of Core Issues Trust, has now written to Mr Beattie.

“I have asked Doug to meet me personally,” said Mr Davidson, who describes himself as “a former homosexual”.

In a letter to all MLAs, Mr Davidson commended Mr Beattie for defending people who are “victims of poor [counselling] interventions”.

He added: “Unfortunately, in his speech, Mr Beattie unfairly linked our charity, Core Issues Trust, to ‘torture and inhumane or degrading treatment’. He went on to name the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC), a UK registered initiative working to self-regulate therapeutic choice internationally, in an equally unfair and inaccurate light.”

He said that neither organisation was asked to give an account and “more disturbingly” neither were any of their clients.

Mr Davidson said the IFTCC, of which he is chair, has now written to MLAs to point out “the well-established scientific research which appears to have been overlooked in this debate”.

He added that in 2014 the High Court ruled that “ex-gay” people are protected under the Equality Act of 2010 “and should not be discriminated against”.

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