Posted by Dr Peter May on 2nd April 2017
Published by the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF)
Peter May reviews a hurried and unsatisfactory debate at the Church of England's General Synod
- A General Synod Private Member's motion moved by Jane Ozanne (Oxford) called for a ban on what it termed 'conversion therapy' for homosexuals.
- In this article Peter May suggests: (a) that the term 'conversion therapy' is inadequate and (b) is an umbrella term to cover several discrete forms of therapy. Thus the motion lacked clarity.
- He suggests that Ozanne's case remains unproven but despite this Synod approved the amended motion, which effectively rules out talking therapies, prayer and even conversations among friends.
What is gay 'Conversion Therapy'? A debate this summer in the Church of England's General Synod concluded it 'has no place in the modern world', and called upon the Government to ban it.
In the 1940s, psychiatrists offered 'curative' aversion therapies to homosexuals hoping to convert them to heterosexuality. Tragically these included castrations, lobotomies and electrical treatments. These were superseded in the 1950s by drug and hormone treatments, psychotherapies and hypnosis. In 1973, following a close vote and bitter disagreement among psychiatrists, homosexuality was removed from the American diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders. An entire generation of psychiatrists has now passed without any clinical responsibility for 'treating' homosexuality.
In proposing her motion to Synod, Jayne Ozanne chose to use the term 'Conversion Therapy', a historic and stigmatising label. She defined it as an umbrella term for all types of therapy, including talking therapies which attempt to change sexual orientation or gender identities. She lumped them together as a single entity, which she denounced as being 'unethical, harmful and not supported by evidence'.
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