The Roman Catholic Church has helped set up a rehabilitation centre in Poland that attempts to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

Last week as countries around the world marked the International Day Against Homophobia  (IDAHO) the Polish rehabilitation centre ‘Odwaga’ opened its doors to the media.

Among the centre’s activities are football lessons for men and cooking classes for women.

The American Psychiatric Association issued a critical statement backed by numerous other mainstream medical organisations, which stated:

“There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”

The statement went on to say that positions espoused by ex-gay organizations, “are not supported by the science” and that they “create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

The centre, which is funded by a Catholic Church group, has received criticism from gay rights activists who claim that the ‘treatments’ used can cause lasting psychological harm and even push people to suicide.

Attempting to ‘cure’ homosexuals is nothing new.

Beginning in the US with Evangelical Christians, the ‘ex-gay’ movement has become popular among other religions around the world with the Catholic Church, Church of the Latter Day Saints, Jewish, Muslim and non-religious groups taking on the idea of treatment centres.

In 1991 14-year-old Lyn Duff’s experiences after coming out to her parents made headlines.

Concerned about her daughter’s sexual orientation, her mother took her by force from her grandparent’s home to Rivendell Psychiatric Centre, a residential treatment centre near Salt Lake City, USA.

There she received ‘treatment’ reportedly included shock therapy, aversion therapy, psychotropic drugs, hypnosis, and behavioural counselling.

After 168 days in Rivendell, Miss Duff escaped and initiated legal action against the facility and her mother.