Sexuality in Crisis – Where is the Science?

Nov 1, 2021 by

by Dr Peter May, Core Issues Trust:

It is a strange world where people may choose their own gender but be banned from changing their  orientation. The UK Government has now commenced a consultation on banning change therapy.

Prof. Michael King, a key player in these sexuality debates, died in September 2021. He was a psychiatrist and epidemiologist in the Faculty of Brain Sciences at University College, London. His research interests included the role of religious beliefs in mental well-being, and the stress and stigma faced by homosexuals. A gay man himself and a professing Christian, he entered a civil partnership in 2006 and gay marriage in 2017.

As a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), he chaired the College’s small “Special Interest Group” in Homosexuality. In that role, he oversaw the production of the College submissions to the Church of England’s Pilling Commission (2012) and the Home Office Consultation on Equal Civil Marriage (2012), as well as various RCPsych ‘Position Statements’ on sex and gender.  He also produced a briefing paper for members of the C of E’s General Synod before their 2017 debate, which supported Jayne Ozanne’s successful motion for the Church to call on the Government to ban “Conversion Therapy.”

In King’s view, sexual orientation was not a choice. He believed its causes were biological in nature, determined by genetic factors and the early uterine environment. He was adamant that there was no good evidence to show that the nature of parenting or a history of early childhood abuse had any role in shaping sexual orientation. Once formed, orientation itself could not be changed. It was innate and to attempt to change it was both unethical and potentially harmful. This RCPsych dogma was a major argument in the case for legalising Gay Marriage.

King was highly influential. He brought into being a Memorandum of Understanding from the UK Council of Psychotherapists, calling for UK mental health bodies to prohibit their counsellors from practicing “Conversion Therapy”. The definition of such therapy has been an ongoing source of contention. More than 50 years ago, when homosexual acts were illegal, some appalling therapies were available and homosexuals were often coerced into using them. These included drug and electric shock aversion therapies, surgical lobotomies and even ‘therapeutic rape’. Since the 1970s, the only therapies used within the National Health Service have been conversational therapies, where skilled counsellors can explore their clients hopes and fears, and support them in fulfilling their chosen objectives.

I can only hope that I have accurately reflected his views on these matters, but I cannot be sure. In April 2013, my colleague Dermot O’Callaghan and I wrote on behalf of Core Issues Trust to Prof. Sue Bailey, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, seeking clarification on numerous matters of concern. We claimed the College submission to the Government was founded on gay ideology rather than science, and was written by an author with undeclared interests, distorting science to achieve political ends.

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