Members of Northern Ireland’s LGBT community protested outside the Church last Saturday afternoon (January 18) during the ‘Setting Love in Order’ conference, run by the Christian Concern and Core Issues Trust. Dr Mike Davidson, organiser of the event, told BBC News that the aim of the conference was not to ‘cure’ LGBT people, but to have a ‘proper debate’ on the issue of homosexuality.
“We’re not busy with gay cure,” Dr Davidson said, “we’re not busy with conversion therapy. Conversion therapy conveys the impression of a light switch – 1,2,3 and you’re done, off you go and live your life. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we’re doing in the conference is arguing for the freedom and the right for clients to approach professional psychotherapists and counsellors.”
John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland’s main LGBT community organisation, said:
“We’re here today in opposition to this quack therapy that continues to do huge amounts of harm to our community. We’re here to send a clear message to those people who are struggling with their sexual orientation that there’s a strong community to support them and meet the needs that they have.”
“You cannot change your sexual orientation whether through therapy, through prayer or under any other means”, O’Doherty added.
Meanwhile, the Ballynahinch Baptist Church issued a statement to the media, stating that it allowed the conference to be held on its premises because it supported freedom of speech, although the Church also stated that it was against homophobia.