Back in 2005 when I first traveled to the UK with my play Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, several British people without any ex-gay or ex-ex-gay background responded,
Well, that’s ever so entertaining, but very American. We don’t have anything like that here.
I admit that ex-gay treatment and conversion therapy is an American export (from the people who brought you McDonalds and a Global Economic crisis) but the Ex-Gay Movement has operated out in the open and under the radar in the UK for years.
According to a recent study, a shocking fact, one in six British psychiatrists and therapists have tried to “cure” patients of homosexuality. That doesn’t even take into account the many Christian counselors, youth pastors, ministers and ex-gay ministries that have attempted to change and suppress orientation and gender differences. Fortunately former ex-gay leader Jeremy Marks changed his Courage ministry into an LGBT-affirming group some years back and has since issued a public apology about his role in promoting and providing ex-gay treatment. (He also has a new book out about his experience)
This weekend a group of American ex-gay practioners will set up shop in the UK at an ex-gay conference held in Central London to share their views about gays (the “sexually broken” to use their words) and offer treatment plans. The event is sponsored by a group called the Anglican Mainstream Organisation (AMO). Slated to speak are Joseph Nicolosi and Jerry Satinover and no doubt others.
In response a grassroots effort has come together to counter the misinformation that gets propagated at these types of conferences and is being organized by Nicolas Chinardet aka Zefrog. According to Nicolas’ blog,
The AMO’s position can, in my view, not be left unchallenged and therefore I and a growing number of others will be protesting this Saturday between 1 and 3pm outside the venue of the conference. We sitll have to make sure of the venue (it was not published on the AMO’s webpage for the event) but it seems that it is going to take place at the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW (www.emmanuelcentre.com).
I am thinking of making it a silent, peaceful and dignified protest simply to show these people that they can not just say and do what they want. That we are here, happy with who we are and more importantly vigilant and not willing to be mistreated any longer.
I will be busy with the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement’s annual gathering on Saturday but hope to see about being part of a smaller action on Friday. Read more at the Aimless Ramblings of Zefrog blog. You can join the Facebook Group if you are able to attend.
On Saturday evening I will offer a pro-LGBT message coming from a Biblical perspective at the North London Metropolitan Church ( Saturday April 25, 2009 8pm, Camden URC, Buck Street & Kentish Town Road
Camden Town. FREE!) There is a Facebook event for that (can’t figure out the link) or you can find more details here.
Also on Monday at University of Cambridge I will offer a talk Homo No Mo?!? Orientation, Gender and the Ex-Gay Movement. I will give a similar talk at University of Bradford on Thursday May 12. For full details see my performance schedule.