Press Release

Stories of healing and hope: silenced movement holds closed event on outskirts of Budapest

22 November 2019         Issued by: Christian Concern

Outside Hungary’s capital city, a movement that the LGBT community across the world has attempted to suppress, has held its fifth annual conference with a cast of amazing stories of transformation.

In the wake of Pope Francis so publicly meeting LGBT advocate Jayne Ozanne, who campaigns to make so called ‘conversion therapy’ illegal, The International Federation for Therapeutic Counselling Choice (IFTCC) exists to support those who wish to turn away from LGBT practices.

With over 200 people from around the world in attendance, this was the IFTCC’s fifth annual conference. Speakers included leading experts in medicine and counselling, and those who have been directly affected by same-sex attraction and transgenderism. These included Matthew Grech, Core Issues Trust co-worker and former X Factor Malta contestant who turned away from a homosexual lifestyle after becoming a Christian, and Denise Shick, an American author who grew up with a transgender father.

The event also provided the opportunity for the IFTCC’s new declaration to be published. The declaration promises to lobby governments to recognise and protect people’s freedom to turn away from LGBT, alongside the freedom to seek therapy and counselling to change.

The declaration states: “The IFTCC will continue to defy political attempts that deny individuals their right to autonomy and choice in sexual expression and identity, congruent with more primary religious or philosophical beliefs.

A client of the Christian Legal Centre, Peter Benjamin, shared his powerful story on how becoming transgender and having irreversible gender reassignment surgery led to the collapse of his family and to further depression and suicidal thoughts. Now, having turned his back on transgenderism as a result of a supportive church and Christian counselling, his relationship with his children is going from strength to strength and he has overcome his addictions and compulsion to cross-dress.

Following on from Pete’s testimony, Dr David Mackereth shared how a judge had recently ruled that his belief in Genesis 1:27, that we are made male and female, was ‘incompatible with human dignity’ and Denise Shick, author of My Daddy’s Secret, shared her story of growing up with a father who suffered gender confusion.

Mike Davidson, Chairman of IFTCC, said: “This conference shows that there is still hope for those people who want to move away from homosexual practices, and the IFTCC will continue to fight to protect people’s right to seek therapy and counselling to do this.

“We implore our governments, local authorities, human rights organisations and media institutions to recognise that everyone should have the freedom and right to live according to their values and beliefs that bring them happiness. No one should take this freedom away from them.

“Currently, only one ideological position is being allowed a voice. Those who want to move away from LGBT practices must be heard and listened to. We must create space for open debate to take place.”

Chief Executive of Christian Concern, Andrea Williams, said: “This was an event full of stories of compassion, repentance, healing and hope. Yet the authorities will not hear these stories and want to erase such people from the public square. Despite this, this is not a movement that seeks to remain underground. It is a movement that seeks to mobilise, to equip, to train, to speak out boldly.

“The reality is that in the UK, and increasingly more so in other nations across the world, the only approved ‘therapy’ is to affirm people as LGBT. There is no space to affirm people as being made in the image of God, male or female. The freedom to declare marriage as being between one man and one woman is being taken away. The name of Jesus is being destroyed through policies, laws and culture, and our freedom to speak about these things is being destroyed too.

“But the overwhelming message at the IFTCC conference was not one of despair, but one of hope. The stories of transformation and gospel redemption are real. This is a message that needs to be heard.”

Notes to editors

You can watch Denise Shick’s full testimony below for further info and context

Matthew Grech’s testimony can be found here:

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