The Guardian reports that anti-gay ads which promised that there is a cure for homosexuality have been pulled from the London buses by Boris Johnson, mayor of London. The ads were supported by a conservative Anglican group, Anglican Mainstream, and by Core Issues Trust:
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, intervened to prevent a Christian advertising campaign from promoting the idea that gay people can be converted to heterosexuality.
Just days before the posters were due to appear on buses in the capital, Johnson ordered his transport chiefs to pull the adverts booked by two conservative Anglican groups following outrage among gay campaigners and politicians saying that they were homophobic. The adverts were booked on behalf of the Core Issues Trust whose leader, Mike Davidson, believes "homoerotic behaviour is sinful".
His charity funds "reparative therapy" for gay Christians, which it claims can "develop their heterosexual potential". The campaign was also backed by Anglican Mainstream, a worldwide orthodox Anglican group whose supporters have equated homosexuality with alcoholism. The advert was due to say: "Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!"
Johnson, who contacted the Guardian to announce he was stopping the adverts within two hours of their contents becoming public, said: "London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."
Attempts to "treat" or alter sexual orientation have been strongly condemned by leading medical organisations. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has warned that "so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish" and concluded in 2010: "There is no sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed."
The British Medical Association has also attacked "conversion therapy", a related field to reparation therapy, passing a motion asserting that it is "discredited and harmful to those 'treated' ".
The Rev Lynda Rose, a spokesperson for the UK branch of Anglican Mainstream, said her group adhered to scripture that all fornication outside marriage is prohibited and believed that homosexuals were "not being fully the people God intended us to be". She said therapies endorsed by Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues were not coercive and were appropriate for people who wanted to change their sexual attractions, for example if they were married and worried about the impact of a "gay lifestyle" on their children.
Earlier this week The American Prospect ran the story of a man who had experienced this so-called therapy and details its failure and the damage it does.
In the article psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, whose studies these anti-gay groups cite, asked for a retraction of the study and said the methods and the conclusions were without merit.
The ex-gay movement has relied on the Spitzer study as the single piece of objective evidence that therapy can work.
Pink News reports:
In article in The American Prospect published this week, Gabriel Arana, a journalist who experience ex-gay therapy with Dr Joseph Nicolosi, spoke to Dr Spitzer, now aged 80, about the study.
Arana writes: “I asked about the criticisms leveled at him. ‘In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct,’ he said. ‘The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.’
“He said he spoke with the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior about writing a retraction, but the editor declined. (Repeated attempts to contact the journal went unanswered.)”
Dr Spitzer had previously said in 2001 it was likely to be a “pretty low” number of people who could successfully change their sexuality, but the study showed “some people can change from gay to straight, and we ought to acknowledge that”
Arana continues: “Spitzer was growing tired and asked how many more questions I had. Nothing, I responded, unless you have something to add.
“He did. Would I print a retraction of his 2001 study, ‘so I don’t have to worry about it anymore’?”