Around 50 gay activists held a protest today outside a small ‘gay cure’ conference held in Northern Ireland.

The event, held by the Core Issues Group, featured David Pickup, an American speaker who says gay people can be turned straight.

The protesters gathered outside Belvoir Church of Ireland earlier today with placards bearing messages such as ‘your cure kills’.

Mr Pickup told the BBC: “I don’t cure anybody – The client always determines if there are root causes for homosexuality.

“I don’t force anybody or cure anybody – a client naturally spontaneously grows into his authentic heterosexual self.”

John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, responded: “It is the same ridiculous comments we have been hearing for 30 years that gay people are gay because they have had an overbearing mother and an absent father and quite often that they are sexual abuse cases.

“We are here to tell the people who are attending and the wider public that there is real therapy and real support here in Northern Ireland from a gay affirmative approach which will help people be the best person they can and also reinforce with them that being gay is not something to be ashamed of.”

Belvoir Church said it had nothing to do with the conference and occasionally allows other groups to use the space.