Church accused of conducting ‘transgender exorcism’ on 13-year-old
A church which is being protested for allegedly holding gay ‘cure’ therapy sessions for kids is facing accusations it conducted a ‘transgender exorcism’ on a 13-year-old.
Metro City Church in Michigan launched the $200 workshop this month, targeting LGBT children aged 12-16 who were “struggling with the thoughts that they are Trans – Bi – Gay or other.”
In a Facebook post which can’t be seen because the Church has removed its own page, the “Unashamed Identity Workshop” told parents: “It doesn’t have to be this way. With God’s help there can be healing, wholeness and hope.
“Through thoughtful, relevant and biblical counsel we will help your girl be unashamed of her true sexual identity given to her by God at birth.”
The $200 fee has since been dropped, but the programme – which is made up of six sessions and is not scheduled to end until April – is still ongoing.
Two of those protesting the workshop are former Metro City Church members Kim Tooley and her son, 17-year-old trans boy Seth.
They have accused lead pastor Jeremy Schossau of performing an exorcism on Seth because of his gender identity.
Kim told NBC News that while they were at Metro City between 2011 and 2013, she argued with Schossau over her son’s right to join the boys’ youth group at the church.
This argument allegedly came to a head in February 2013, when the lead pastor asked the then-13-year-old Seth to join him for a private discussion.
After he entered the room with Schossau, he said two other church elders came in and, together with the pastor, put their hands over him before shouting prayers and the words “Demon, leave this girl!”
Seth said he was too angry to react.
“I was just sitting there; I wouldn’t speak,” he said.
“I was just so pissed that my face was so red and my teeth were clenched.”
Kim said that while she gave the pastor permission to speak privately to her son, she did not know what he was going to attempt.
She ran into the room when she heard Seth call for her, she added.
“It broke my heart,” she said, “and I jerked him out and said: ‘Let’s go.’”
The mother and son stopped going to Metro City Church soon after that, she said.
Schossau said it was true that he had refused Seth’s request to join the bys’ youth group, but denied the exorcism, accusing the Tooleys of “flat out lying” about it.
“It did not happen. Never, ever. Period,” he said.
A study published last month showed that 20,000 LGBT teens in the US will undergo gay ‘cure’ therapy before they’re 18 – and that’s only counting those taken to licensed healthcare professionals.
Schossau denied accusations that the workshop was not a gay ‘cure’ therapy.
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He said: “When people say conversion therapy, I don’t even know how that got started. It’s just completely a wrong narrative.
“It is a lie, because we’re dealing with pre-sexual kids mostly.”
New Jersey, California, Oregon, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada and Washington DC all prohibit gay conversion therapy from licensed health professionals.
Bills to ban conversion therapy on children are also pending in another 16 states, but religious organisations such as Schossau’s church are exempt.