Press Release

International experts and ex-gays speak out against government conversion therapy ban

24 November 2021         Issued by: Christian Concern

International research experts and members of the ex-gay community in London have addressed whether the government’s ban on conversion therapy is safe and whether it is backed by scientific evidence.

The event, organised by the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC), was held in response to the Government’s published 6-week consultation which could see parents criminalised for encouraging children to seek alternative solutions for their unwanted same-sex feelings and gender identity issues.

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

Therapy ban puts people at risk

Dr Laura Haynes, a psychologist and experienced therapist, analysed and argued that the UK government’s conversion therapy ban proposals and the research supporting it are ideological and not scientific or rational. She said that the ban would be ‘unnecessary, unpractical and unsafe.’

Presenting on sexual orientation and gender identity, she said: “Everyone should have the right to walk away from sexual or gender practices and experiences that don’t work for them and have support to do so without government approval for their reason and without discrimination.

“The government proposal forbids minors the right to help to live according to their religion. It is a serious attack on the human rights of minors to freedoms of speech, religion and belief. There are rational reasons why people want and freely choose change exploring therapy.”

Trans affirmation

Dr Christopher Rosik, a leading peer-reviewed researcher and counselling psychologist, argued that transgender affirmation leads to negative outcomes.

Discussing supporting gender dysphoric children, he said that there is: “no age-appropriate way to explain to many of these children what losing their fertility or full sexual function may mean to them in later years.

“Banning counselling choice condemns already at-risk sexual minority youth to experimental and unproven hormonal and surgical gender affirming therapy (GAT).

“GAT permanently and prematurely medicalises minors for a condition that overwhelmingly resolves by adulthood. Why do that? It is not proven to be effective or safe, it does not reduce suicides, and is not the standard of care for gender dysphoric minors.

“There is growing international push back against Gender Affirming Therapy (GAT) in favour of watchful waiting with its focused psychological evaluation and support of the youth and family.  A counselling ban prohibits exactly what the child needs most.

“Minors cannot give truly informed consent for a life of sterility and compromised sexual function. They have developing brains, their minds change often, and they don’t grasp long-term consequences.

“Gender Affirming Therapy’s suicide reduction claim is a myth, used as emotional blackmail against parents and the public.

“The chemical castration and surgical mutilation of otherwise healthy young bodies is not health care.”

Registered physician, Dr (Med) Andre Van Mol, speaking about transgenderism, said: “The ethics of permanently medicalising something with an 85% rate of desistance, based on a self-diagnosis, is highly suspect.

“The chemical castration and surgical mutilation of minors with otherwise healthy organs is not health care.

He also spoke of the dangers of the ‘consensus’ in favour of conversion therapy bans saying: “Consensus is not a proxy for truth. Consensus is not a proxy for science. In fact, it can be a threat to science, especially when it is herd mentality – which is what this is.”

IFTCC Chairman, Dr Mike Davidson, said: “There is no reason to believe that talking therapies for sexual orientation cause harm, yet there is a mountain of evidence that transgender affirmation, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery cause significant damage to adults and children. How can the government possibly justify a ban on conversion therapy while paying for these damaging transgender treatments?”

‘We exist’ – Ex-gay testimonies

The event also heard testimonies from members of the ex-gay community. Tia grew up in Pakistan where she was sexually abused by her grandfather and rejected by her mother. She began wanting to be a boy so that she could protect her sister. Moving to the UK she became a lesbian and led a life of heavy drinking and smoking which caused her to feel depressed and even suicidal.

Living in despair she became a Christian, immediately lost the urge to smoke and no longer pursued a lesbian lifestyle.

Speaking outside of the House of Commons today, she said: “I am here today to let you know that people like us exist. We have left the LGBT lifestyle and yet our voices are being silenced and ignored. People are looking the other way, they think that change is not possible, but everything is possible with God. We are the evidence of that change.

“If this ban happens, people who willingly wish to change their lifestyle because they are not happy will have their freedoms taken from them.”

Rob says he pursued a gay lifestyle for five years and had experienced same-sex attraction since adolescence. For a long time, however, due to his Christian beliefs he had chosen to abstain from romantic relationships, but by his mid-twenties, frustrated that his orientation hadn’t changed he asked himself: ‘How could a God of love want me to be single all of my life?” Moving to London he embarked on a string of homosexual relationships and became addicted to drugs, alcohol and sex.

Experiencing serious panic attacks, he became a Christian and life has become calmer. He says that he still experiences same-sex attraction, but the feelings have lessened since he focused less on himself and more on God’s love for him.

Outside parliament today, he said: “Jesus has transformed my life and I no longer have a desire to be involved in gay relations. Living an LGBT lifestyle caused me major mental health problems and anxiety.

“It is so important that the government listens to people who want help. This proposed ban is a form of discrimination to the LGBT community as what happens to a person who is not happy and wants to leave it? I would encourage the government to spend more time looking at the causes of widespread mental health issues in the LGBT community.”

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