More than 100 protesters gathered outside the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, Central London during a conference on curing homosexuality organised by evangelical Christian group Anglican Mainstream and CARE.
The conference was billed as a A Judaeo-Christian event although being held on the Jewish Sabbath, it was unlikely to attract any orthodox Jews; the only Jewish groups that oppose homosexuality.
The event was bulled as having “a special focus on how religious professionals and friends/relatives can respond biblically and pastorally to those struggling with unwanted SSA (same-sex attraction)”.
According to the organisers the conference was “ideal for clergy, rabbis, psychologists, therapists, educators and others concerned about the plethora of sexual issues confronting us in today’s society, including mentoring the sexually broken, the sexualisation of culture, pornography, the Bible and sex, and marriage, the family and sex”.
One of the protesters outside the building, counsellor Andrew Hanuman, told UKGayNews: “These therapists seem to have and unhealthy obsession with homosexuality.
“In some small way, it even helps with the terrible situation in Uganda where the government is working with American therapists, who were recently in the country for a conference.
“In Uganda, gays have a choice – jail or therapy.”
One speaker at the conference was Joseph Nicolosi PhD, of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (Narth).
Nicolosi is an advocate and practitioner of reparative therapy, which claims to help people overcome or reduce unwanted homosexual feelings.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the therapy works on the assumption that homosexuality is a disease or mental illness that must be treated.
Another speaker was Jeffrey Satinover, who said in 2005 that sexual orientation is “a fiction”. He added that it is ludicrous to allow civil rights for a group of people whose condition does not exist.
Derek Lennard of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) told the website: “We need to remember today that IDAHO commemorates the day in 1990 when homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders by the World Health Organisation.
“LGBT people who are being persecuted around the world will want us to make sure that homosexuality is never regarded as a mental illness again.”
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has also spoken out against the conference.
GALHA secretary David Christmas told PinkNews.co.uk: “The fact that the whole premise is riddled with absurdities does not make it any the less dangerous. For the past 30 years, mainstream medicine and science have accepted that homosexuality is in no sense an illness, and as such, by definition, cannot be cured.”