Singapore LGBT church accused of trying to ‘convert’ gay people
A Singapore church is receiving backlash for posting videos on Instagram of “Christians who used to struggle with same-sex attraction,” and critics are saying that it promotes conversion therapy.
The group, TrueLove.Is, describes itself as “a ministry of 3:16 Church that provides stories and resources for Christians who want to know more about LGBT issues.”
One of the videos has over 20,000 views and a post by the church, which is about a year old, denying its involvement in conversion therapy has over a thousand comments.
One comment said: “This isn’t stereotypical conversion therapy, but it sure as hell is manipulative.”
Another said: “Teaching people to hate their own sexual desire and hate themselves is emotional abuse. It’s conversion therapy.”
A church member in the videos says: “I met some researchers about suicide in the homosexual community and I realised that the countries in the world where homosexuals are widely accepted, they try to kill themselves.
“Especially after the sexual reassignment, there is a probability rate [for suicide] of 30 percent in transgender people and transsexual people. Sexuality is just the tip of the iceberg, but really underneath there is a problem of accepting ourselves.”
The posts have reportedly been flagged by users for hate speech, Instagram have not found them to be in violation of their community guidelines.
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The TrueLove.Is website’s tagline is: “Come out. Come home.” It uploads videos of members of the church who have been “born again” as ex-gay.
One video, for example, is captioned: “God has been so good to free Vincent from 29 years of sexual bondage which started from a childhood incident when he was five years old.”
Another is described: “Seeking answers, Alessio surrounded himself with a church and a pastor who reassured him that he was wonderfully made – gay. Yet, deep down, he was still conflicted. He even attempted suicide.
“But one day, on a bus in Italy, God spoke to him about his identity. And now, Alessio has found peace instead of a torturous struggle.”
The church responded to the accusations of practicing conversion therapy in an Instagram post: “TrueLove.Is does not practice ‘conversion therapy’ nor does it condone ‘electroshock therapy’.
“The ministry provides Christian stories, resources and a safe community to help Christians with unwanted same-sex attraction.”
In May, an anonymous person wrote a Medium post about attending one of the church’s events in which they wrote that although TrueLove.Is does not use physical abuse to convert LGBT+ people, “many critics think that Truelove.is amounts to a psychological version of conversion abuse.”
In Singapore there are no anti-discrimination protections for LGBT+ people, and gay sex is still illegal. Conversion therapy is not illegal.