‘Ex-gay’ man claims to have been ‘cured’ of same-sex attraction in terrifying newspaper article
An article in Belfast newspaper the News Letter has suggested that the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy can successfully change a person’s sexual orientation.
In the article, which was published yesterday, Mike Davidson said he was “thankful” to the “professionals” who helped him to overcome the same-sex desire he felt earlier in his life.
Davidson runs an organisation called Core Issues Trust, which claims to help people change their sexual orientation. The practice of conversion therapy has been condemned by various medical and psychiatric bodies across the world, but this is mentioned nowhere in the News Letter article.
Furthermore, a UK survey conducted last year found that one in five people who had been through conversion therapy later attempted suicide, a fact the News Letter also failed to mention.
Mike Davidson claimed he ‘no longer’ experiences same-sex attraction after conversion therapy in newspaper article.
In the article, Mike Davidson said he once “longed for an emotional, sexual and romantic connection with a person of the same sex,” but said he “no longer” has such feelings.
“My change has meant I have been able to fulfil my desire to remain with my wife and family and to enjoy a full and complete relationship with my wife and our children,” he continued.
The article goes on to claim that Davidson experienced same-sex attraction because of his poor relationship with his father as a child.
Being gay isn’t a choice. It can’t be ‘cured’. Conversion therapy traumatises and destroys lives. Its promotion in mainstream print is a joke.
Davidson also hit out at the “appalling determination” to promote the acceptance of LGBT+ people in everyday life. He even referenced This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield’s recent coming out, claiming: “If Philip Schofield is allowed to celebrate his choice, people who leave unwanted same-sex attractions should also be celebrated.”
Worryingly, the News Letter published all of Davidson’s claims without referencing any of the research, and firm evidence, that indicates that conversion therapy is an extremely harmful, and ineffective, practice.
The article has been slammed as ‘potentially harmful’.
Siobhán O’Neill, professor of mental health sciences at Ulster University, told PinkNews that the News Letter article is “potentially harmful because it implies that certain sexual orientations are inferior to others, and that there are therapies that can change a person’s sexuality.
“This is not the case, and to suggest so is contributing to prejudice and discrimination,” she said.
“Conversion therapies are considered harmful and unethical by the British Psychological Society and are not recommended. This article demonstrates why we need to continue to fight for equality and condemn discrimination and prejudice whenever we encounter it.”
Stonewall’s client account manager Fergal McFerran also slammed the article in a statement to PinkNews.
“The promotion of the idea that LGBT+ people can and should be cured or changed, is extremely dangerous, particularly for people who may be seeking answers about themselves.
“These so-called ‘conversion therapies’ have been condemned by all major UK health organisations. Not only do they not work, these practices cause long-lasting and serious harm. Being LGBT+ is not something that can or should be ‘cured’.”
The article has been heavily criticised on social media.
The article has also faced significant backlash on social media, where people have pointed out that the article reads like an endorsement of conversion therapy.
Here we have one of NI's biggest daily papers openly promoting reparative ('ex-gay') therapy. Just posting for those who don't believe that it's still a thing in 2020. pic.twitter.com/y7jeZkMEMO
— Shirley-Anne McMillan (@shirleyannemcm) February 26, 2020
Not going to share the grossly offensive News Letter piece but when will these outrageous attacks end? LGBT+ lives aren’t up for debate. Being gay isn’t a choice. It can’t be “cured”. Conversion therapy traumatises and destroys lives. Its promotion in mainstream print is a joke.
— Eóin Tennyson (@EoinTennyson) February 26, 2020
“There is an appalling determination to promote LGBT ideology at the expense of people’s lives.” – conversion therapy has and will continue to drive young LGBT+ people to suicide. This man’s agenda actually comes at the expense of people’s lives. Why did @News_Letter promote him?
— Cllr. Séamas de Faoite (@SeamasBelfast) February 26, 2020
Not going to give the News Letter article anymore publicity. But here’s the message. Being gay isn’t a choice. Being gay isn’t curable. It’s who you are. So called ‘conversion therapy’ needs to be illegal in all 32 counties. The sooner the better.
— Niall Polland 🏳️🌈⭕️ (@niall_polland) February 26, 2020
Why is @News_Letter publishing this with no mention that reparative/conversion 'therapy' is denounced by all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies in the UK? https://t.co/xyFIAibYfC https://t.co/Usz4J5fyHz
— "in-your-face poofery" (@ashtonakm) February 26, 2020
PinkNews has contacted the Belfast News Letter for comment.
Conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, is widely considered to be pseudoscience.
The practice has been condemned by various health and psychiatry bodies across the world. In the United States, it has been discredited by the American Psychiatric Association, American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry.
Meanwhile, a UK survey of survivors of conversion therapy last year found that one in five people who had been through the practice had attempted suicide.
The findings were detailed in a report from the Ozanne foundation and was based on 4,600 responses.
More from PinkNews
Of the 458 participants who had experienced conversion therapy, 91 people people said they had attempted suicide.
Two in five of those who had experience with conversion therapy had had suicidal thoughts, while less than a third said they had gone on to “have gone on to lead a happy and fulfilled life”.