The Conservative Party’s affiliated gay group, LGBTory, has criticised a Tory MEP for remarks about so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy.
Responding to news that a therapist faces being struck off for trying to turn a gay man straight, MEP Roger Helmer tweeted: “Why is it OK for a surgeon to perform a sex-change operation, but not OK for a psychiatrist to try to ‘turn’ a consenting homosexual?”
Matthew Sephton, the chairman of LGBTory, said in a press release: “I have made contact with the leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament and have urged him to take action. Words and sentiments such as these have no place in the modern Conservative Party.”
He added that the MEP’s comment was “unhelpful” to the party’s new promises on LGBT equality.
Mr Sephton said: “The Conservative Party published an equalities manifesto at the general election and those words have already begun to turn into action with the widespread consultation on the future of civil partnerships and Theresa May’s announcement that historic convictions for consensual gay sex will be quashed.
“That is what the Conservative Party is doing on LGBT issues. Comments like those of Roger Helmer are unhelpful, unrepresentative of the Conservative Party and wrong.”
Mr Helmer told TheParliament.com: “I am told that this is now all over the internet but it was a reasonable question, modestly asked.
“I never cease to be amazed by the instant indignation and intolerance of this strident lobby group.”
He laughed off suggestions that he should be disciplined, saying: “I take these things with a pinch of salt.”
Mr Helmer has claimed before that the word ‘homophobia’ has “no meaning” and that he had “never met anyone with an irrational fear of homosexuals”.
He later said that violence and prejudice against gay people do exist but that the word is propaganda created by the “militant gay rights lobby”.