Groups clash over lobbying MLAs on gay conversion therapy ban

Nov 17, 2021 by

by Philip Bradfield, Belfast News Letter:

Groups lobbying for and against Stormont banning ‘gay conversion therapy’ have clashed after a book featuring testimonies of 44 ex-gays was posted to every MLA.

The book, X-Out-Loud, was distribued by NI organisation Core Issues Trust, led by ex-gay Dr Michael Davidson, in light of ongoing work by the Department of Communities to ban conversaion therapies.

Dr Davidson said: “Our campaign was thought necessary given the failure of media in the UK to platform voices supporting the view that sexuality is fluid, and in some cases changeable.” He asked: “What science is supporting the idea that we are born gay or trans? Studies of identical twins clearly show that were one identifies as gay the other often does not. And quoting mental health statements is not authoritative empirical evidence.”

However LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell rejected Dr Davidson’s views. “A ban on conversion therapy that seeks to make gay people straight is justified on the grounds that it is unethical, harmful and ineffective, according to all major medical, psychiatric and counselling organisations,” he said. “People cannot change their sexuality” he said, adding: “The examples of people who have switched from LGBT+ to heterosexual are people who have merely affirmed a sexuality that was previously suppressed and buried because of peer and social disapproval.”

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