Following the criticism levelled at X Factor Malta contestant Matthew Grech, Ivan Grech Mintoff has made clear his political party's intention to seek the court's help in reviewing this matter. Details of the concerns he raises are explored in the "Exodus" programmes which he presents on Maltese TV.
Exodus Programme 6 in the current series that aired earlier this month has looked at this issue in the context of freedom of conscience, speech and expression. The programme asked guests to comment on the X Factor case. Dr Mike Davidson was one of those invited and he spoke about the work of Core Issues Trust and some of the legal challenges that have concerned us over the years. In particular, mention is made of the recognition gained in 2014, when judges reflected on the intervention of then UK Minister of Women and Equalities Maria Millar's lawyers on the position of "ex-gay" in relation to equality law and the UK's Equality Act of 2010.
In part 1 of Exodus programme 6, focus is upon Maltese Labour Party Equality Minister Helena Dalli, Minister of Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties. Evidence is presented (6.36 on counter above) that is considered to provide an example of a government minister "bulldozing" equalities legislation in spite of established public opinion. According to the minister herself, 80% were not in favour of the changes her governent sought to bring in through the political "package" the population has unwittingly voted in favour of. Of course, Minister Dalli is not alone in this approach. Consider the ILGA's (International Gay and Lesbian Association) 2016 data on public attitudes in great Britain concerning the idea that people are born gay. Only a third (35%) of people in the United Kingdom agree with the claim that ‘people attracted to the same sex are born that way’. This was some two years after marriage "equality was legislated in the UK. This fact went unreported in the UK. It supported findings of survey commissioned by Core Issues Trust via a (2014) ComRes Poll when a Private Member's Bill called for a ban on therapeutic choice - on which Moseley (2018) reflects:
Less than a quarter (24%) of British people supported a ban in 2014, and less than a third (31%) of adults under 25. Nearly two thirds of people (64%) and over half (55%) of adults under 25 supported a married man’s right to receive help to reduce unwanted same-sex attraction in order to help keep his marriage together. Only 12% of the public thought such a man should be refused such help.
In Part 2, Mike Davidson raises concerns about the threatened end of critique when ideological diversity is ended and mono-cultures of political viewpoint are allowed to dominate. Scientific thinking is the casualty. This is what has happened in the UK's mental health bodies. Attention is given to the recent attempt by Pink News to ban "Voices of the Silenced" a feature documentary produced by Core Issues Trust. Pink News commissioned a petition which obtained 600 hundred signatories which convinced Vue Entertainment, owner of Piccadilly Circus' Vue Cinema, where the film was to be premiered, to cancel the booking.
In Part 3, the out of court settlement in favour of the Trust, is mentioned following work by the Christian Legal Centre in London. This admitted there was no legal reason why the film could not have been shown as had been intended. This illustrates the level of censorship that was being imposed on the Trust's production by the LGBT community represented by Pink News. The section also remembered the 2012 London Bus case in which Core Issues Trust countered the Stonewall advert "Some People are gay. Get over it!" (placed on 1000 busses) by placing (an approved) advert on the side of 12 buses with the response "Not Gay! Ex-Gay Post Gay and Proud. Get over it". This was cancelled the night before by Boris Johnson, a candidate for mayoral re-election, who had a responsibility for Transport for London. Johnson later denied his personal intervention, and the Trust sought a Judicial Review in the High Court. On loosing this, the Court of Appeal was then engaged, and part of that ruling is especially relevant to the discussion at hand.
Referring to the Judgement in the Appeal Case of Core Issues Trust vs Transport for London, the point is made that "ex-gay" functions like a protected characteristic. Paragraph 98 says:
As Mr Squires says, it would be surprising if less favourable treatment because a person in the past was homosexual, but is now heterosexual, was not equally prohibited. This does not require that "ex-gays" are to be regarded as a separate category of sexual orientation. Discrimination against a person because of his or her past actual or perceived sexual orientation, or because his or her sexual orientation has changed, is discrimination "because of…..sexual orientation". There is no requirement in the EA that discrimination must relate to a person's current sexual orientation. All that is required is that the discrimination is "because of sexual orientation".
This is an important principle and acknowledgement of the fact of change individuals make in our society in terms of their so-called sexual "orientation" in UK case law and that it is unlawful to discriminate against such persons.
Finally, in Part 4 the "must stay gay" culture and the myth of "once-gay always-gay" is addressed in the context of Minister Dalli's claim that science tells us that sexual orientation is fixed and unchangeable. Reference is made to the APA's (2014) Handbook on Sexuality and Psychology once again which makes two important points: same-sex sexual orientation is (1) caused by psychoanalytic factors, and (2) may be caused by sexual abuse trauma.
In 2016 Clifford Rosky and Lisa Diamond–the co-editor-in-chief of the American Psychological Association wrote1:
‘The best and most reliable data on “naturally occurring” change in sexual orientation come from studies that have longitudinally tracked large, population-based samples of heterosexual and sexual-minority individuals...... [ they] unequivocally demonstrate that same-sex and other-sex attractions do change overtime in some individuals.’.....’ Given the consistency of these findings, it is not scientifically accurate to describe same-sex sexual orientation as a uniformly immutable trait. Although some sexual-minority individuals report consistent patterns of same-sex attraction over time, other sexual-minority individuals undergo changes.’.....‘individuals with a capacity for bisexual attractions out number individuals with exclusive same-sex attractions’......‘the single largest subgroup of individuals with same-sex attractions, among both women and men, is comprised of individuals who consider themselves “mostly but not completely heterosexual’.
Diamond and Rosky summarised the results of four major population studies-including one study from New Zealand–into a single table. Change was usually towards heterosexuality. Across the four studies, of the same sex attracted respondents, 26–64% report change in their sexuality. Of these 50-100% changed to heterosexuality.1
Although Minister Dalli correctly notes higher levels of suicidal ideation (desire to commit suicide) she claims higher levels of suicide (completion) among the LGBT, which is not the case. As O'Callaghan2 has said "Somewhat counterintuitively, most studies have found completed suicides not to be higher among LGBT people (with the exception of two very small groups – people who undergo transgender surgery and men in same-sex ‘marriages’ in Denmark – one of the most sexually liberal countries in the world)". He cites researcher RM Mathy3,
… studies of sexual orientation and attempted v. completed suicide have yielded different results. Nearly all studies of sexual orientation and attempted suicide have found that gay men and lesbians have higher rates of self-harm than heterosexuals. Conversely, all studies of sexual orientation and completed suicide have concluded that gay men and lesbians do not die by suicide at a higher rate than heterosexuals.
It is difficult to understand the basis upon which Minister Dalli's claims are therefore being made. Watch APA member Dr Laura Haynes who discusses the distortion of the APA position on this matter. FInally we should ask ourselves what exactly is the purpose of therapy bans? Clearly such bans cannot be supported by hard science, and we must rather conclude that they are aimed at diminishing and perverting Judeo-Christian values that do not support homosexuality as a fixed, innate and immutable category of human existence. In the case of Matthew Grech, an attempt has been made by the Minister of Equality in his country to apply the Maltese ban on therapy to an individual who simply shared his testimony and personall understanding of his own life.