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.
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.