2 July 2018
Core Issues Trust provides a space for individuals to safely explore their sexual attraction fluidity issues. Clients have different goals, and as with any therapeutic process, outcomes vary. Some clients, seeking viable and meaningful relationships with the opposite sex, find the capacity for that. Some wish to modify behaviours and renounce as false the identity they formerly described as “gay”. Some are married and have children and wish to maintain the integrity of such marriages. The Trust supports the rights of autonomous individuals to take the pathways that reflect their goals and values, including LGBTI dignity. It supports regulation of sexual attraction fluidity exploration therapy where the dangers of viewpoint discrimination have been removed by fair representation on decision -making bodies. It argues that banning such therapies is a denial of fundamental human rights as laid down in the European Human Rights Convention (EHRC, 1951). It calls for regulation over restriction or banning.
The UK Government, under the leadership of the Conservative Party, has failed to uphold case law established in the Trust’s case against Transport for London (2014) that requires the rights of ex-gay persons, under the Equality Act (2010), are protected. This was established by an intervention on behalf of Maria Miller, then Minister of Women and Equalities. In November 2017 several UK government departments and mental health bodies signed a Memorandum of Understanding prohibiting change-oriented therapies. Thus the government has continued to discriminate against ex-gays in the matter of denying them services, disregarding the findings of our Transport for London case. Despite the fact that the UK is signed up to the EHRC it continues to fail to protect ex-gay individuals in their right to determine their own sexual identity. It now appears to impose a mandatory gay trajectory for those seeking change therapy.
In February this year, the Core Issues Trust provided evidence through the personal accounts of a range of individuals in its feature documentary, Voices of the Silenced (2018). As the initial screening was cancelled due to pressure on Vue Cinemas by Pink News the Trust must return to the courts to defend its right to speak. In 2014 Norman Lamb, then minister of health in the Coalition Government refused to allow the Trust, to participate in the process that led to the “Consensus Statement on Conversion Therapy” (2014) and then to the “Memorandum of Understanding” (2015). The government has refused to pay heed to the 2017 IGLA survey findings that indicated that 36% of Britons believe that people are “born gay”, and the fact that the same survey indicated, following the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) Act 2013 that same-sex marriage was supported by 48% of UK citizens. Successive governments have refused to pay attention to the shifting identities and practices of those who initially identify as “gay” and then move to married or co-habiting status with opposite sex-partners in subsequent NATSAL surveys. Neither has the Government paid attention to the ComRes poll (2014) indicating public support for access to such therapy. The media have failed in their duty to highlight these anomalies which indicate that the Government has had less support for its actions than it claims.
It should also not go unnoticed that the Home Office, concerned with crime, is taking a high-profile position in the therapy debate and in the persecution of viewpoints that reject the normalisation of homosexuality and gender mainstreaming. This indicates that the Home Office wishes to signal that providing therapeutic support in this area is hate speech and non-violent extremism. Such a position ensures that no UK citizen may express a contrary view, and that to act to provide therapeutic support for unwanted same-sex attractions is being criminalised. To seek such help, a person is in grave danger of becoming pathologised as though to do so is simply because of internalised homophobia.