Press Release

Does science back a conversion therapy ban?

19 November 2021         Issued by: Christian Concern

Next week, international experts in London will address whether the government’s ban on conversion therapy is safe and whether it is backed by scientific evidence.

The event on Tuesday 23 November has been organised in response to the Government’s published 6-week consultation which could see Christian parents criminalised for teaching what the Bible says about human sexuality.

The consultation, which closes on 10 December, also outlines proposals that would see under-18-year-olds unable to consent to conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is a vague term, used by no one who is accused of practising it. Generally speaking, it means attempting to change someone’s sexual attraction or gender identity, but the government’s proposals contain no clear definition.

In response, this high-level event, hosted by the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choiceis designed to encourage debate and rigorous discussion of the scientific basis for the ban. Those who support the ban are welcome to attend.

The event will include expert analysis from acknowledged world-renowned, peer reviewed researchers from a range of medical, psychological, sociological and legal disciplines.

They will examine research supporting the ban commissioned by the Government’s GEO and produced by Coventry University entitled “Conversion Therapy: an Evidenced Assessment and Quantitative Study.”

The contributors will present research analysis and argue that the data and conclusions relied on to support a ban on “Conversion Practices” are scientifically flawed and that the ban will harm both adults and under 18s.

Suicidality has been shown to reduce as a result of talking therapies. The symposium will examine original research that indicates this.

The scientific evidence for whether people are ‘born gay’ will also be analysed and whether patients or professionals know best about gender identity diagnosis.

Powerful ex-gay case studies

Attendees will also hear a range of powerful testimonies from the ex-gay community who will discuss how they have benefited from therapy and support.

The Symposium will also assess future implications of such a ban on religious freedom, free speech, and client autonomy.

The panel of speakers is made up of international, multi-disciplinary leaders and includes: Psychologist Dr Laura Haynes, Sociologist Prof. Paul Sullins, Researcher and Psychologist Dr Christopher Rosik, Marriage and Family and Researcher Prof. Carolyn Pela, Physician Dr Andre Van Mol, Academic Dr Walter R. Schumm, and Pastoral Care Workers Elizabeth Woning and Ken Williams.

Dangerous for young people

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “This unique event will bring together international experts at a crucial moment for freedom on this issue.

“It will also hear from members of the ex-gay community whose lives have been transformed through the support they have received. 

“The event will expose how the government’s proposals are based on weak science, flawed research and are dangerous for young people. 

“We encourage the media, who often only hear one side of this debate, to come and listen to comprehensive evidence from world-class speakers and to decide for themselves.”

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