The media’s favourite gay cure advocate Dr. Mike Davidson is not a medical doctor
The media’s favourite advocate for gay ‘cure’ therapy, Dr. Mike Davidson, has no medical qualifications whatsoever.
Davidson, the head of fringe Christian group the Core Issues Trust, has been interviewed more than a dozen times by major media outlets over the past year expressing his belief that gay people can be cured.
The advocate for the controversial practice, which has been disavowed by nearly every major medical and psychological authority, has been given a platform on national television, including ITV’s Good Morning Britain last September.
But though presenters regularly introduce the activist as Dr. Mike Davidson, he does not possess any medical or psychological qualifications.
Davidson holds no membership with any major medical or therapeutic body. He was previously ejected from a training course with the British Psychodrama Association (BPA) in 2012 after expressing his controversial views on ‘curing’ gay people in an interview with BBC Radio Ulster.
The Christian activist was most recently interviewed on Irish broadcaster TV3’s Pat Kenny Show, where he was part of a panel debate alongside certified medical doctor, Dr. Paul D’Alton of St Vincent’s University Hospital.
Speaking on that programme in March, Davidson said: “I would take issue with saying categorically that science says [sexuality] is immutable. The Human Genome Project searched for a gay gene. You look to look below the headlines and see some of the nuance of the science.”
In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live earlier this year Davidson was repeatedly referred to as Dr. Mike Davidson, with a host informing listeners that he “offers therapy” to deal with “unwanted same sex attraction,” before Davidson proceeded to claim his work proves that homosexual feelings can “often reduce significantly.”
And in a now infamous interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in September, host Piers Morgan repeatedly referred to Davidson as Dr. Michael Davidson, before the guest asserted his belief that homosexuality is a curable condition.
Davidson told PinkNews that he uses the honorific Dr. title because he has an academic qualification.
Rhodes University in South Africa confirmed to PinkNews that Davidson received a PhD in Education in 1996, which traditionally entitles him to use the honorific in academic contexts.
However, the use of the academic honorific title while discussing medical issues has long been a contentious subject.
In the UK, the Advertising Standards Agency has banned ads for medical therapies that are deemed to ‘pass off’ academic qualifications as medical ones.
The body’s Committees of Advertising Practice warns: “Marketers wanting to refer to themselves as ‘Dr.’ should take care not to imply that they hold a general medical qualification if they do not.
“The need for clarity is greatest in the context of health-related claims and the ASA has previously taken a tough line on marketers who call themselves ‘Dr.’
“It is likely that in the context of health related claims, the ASA would expect advertisers who use the ‘Dr.’ title to immediately qualify it with a statement making clear that they do not hold a general medical qualification.”
However, Ofcom – which regulates UK broadcasters – was unable to confirm whether it applies a similar standard for news, though the broadcast code states that “news, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy.”
Ofcom told PinkNews that it would “of course assess” any complaints made about media outlets, but noted the several instances PinkNews raised are “now outside the time frame in which Ofcom can investigate.”
BBC nor ITV responded to PinkNews’ request for comment about why Davidson was presented as Dr. Mike Davidson and whether this might cause confusion.
A spokesperson for Irish broadcaster TV3 told PinkNews: “Mike Davidson has a PhD in Education.
“He appeared on the programme in the context of Senator Fintan Warfield bringing forward legislation to prohibit anyone offering treatments which seek to suppress or change someone’s sexual preferences.
“He was robustly challenged by the presenter, Pat Kenny, by Senator Fintan Warfield and clinical psychologist, Dr Paul D’Alton.”
In response to inquiries about his media appearances, Davidson told PinkNews: “I have a PhD in education. My interest is in indoctrination and education.
“I was prevented from completing my psychodrama/psychotherapy training because of the idea I hold that sexuality is fluid and changeable and that individuals should have the right to access professional help to achieve their goals when they are unhappy with their sexual feelings.”