It’s a second outing in the column Villains this year for the Core Issues Trust. (Read Villains: On US gay-conversion tactics … again.) This noisy and disoriented organisation, which lashes out like a beast cornered whenever the word “gay” is mentioned, is rolling out its own London bus advertising campaign to counter Stonewall’s “Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!” What does it say? “Not gay! Ex-gay, Post-gay and Proud. Get Over It!” It seems that now the term ‘ex-gay’ is not enough for the Trust, and so they have added ‘post-gay’. No matter, it is a confused and confusing statement, and I cannot imagine many people in London understanding it. I often explain to people what the term “ex-gay” is supposed to mean and they look at me like I have a screw loose. Which is as it should be.
What is this all about? The Core Issues Trust, which claims to only be helping people who do not want to be gay, believe the only way is to repent. “We believe individuals have a right to self-determine sexual identity and behaviour and so reject the notion that people are born gay and as such are inevitably ‘gay’.” That’s the politics, such as it is. And now for the ‘science bit’.
The Trust puts its faith in “reparative therapy”, which is a pseudo-scientific term for shaming people into renouncing homosexual feelings based on whatever quotation from the Bible fits the purpose. Another term the Trust employs when it wants to avoid criticism is “practical theology”. The American Psychiatric Association has this to say about this so-called therapy: “In the last four decades, ‘reparative’ therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there is such research available, APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to first, do no harm.”
The Trust, as has been noted before in this column, is not interested in facts, unless it is calling on others to produce them. And so this is their official line on its bus campaign: the Stonewall ad as “is merely another attempt to close down critical debate about being gay and marriage ‘equality’, and warn that the promotion of homosexual practices to children and young people, many of whom are known to experience ambivalence as they sort through issues of sexual identity, is misleading and dangerous.” Try reading it again. No, it doesn’t make logical sense. It’s all about the hysteria.
The director of the Core Issues Trust, Dr Mike Davidson, concluded that the “campaign rides roughshod over individuals who by conscience reject the simplistic notion that their choice to move out of homosexuality is because of internalised prejudice taught by society, completely ignoring the profound effect on sexual identity, established by highly-respected scientific study, of childhood experience.” No, he does not have an easy grasp of the English language. Or logic. What is his doctorate in? Witch?
The good people at the Core Issues Trust are not what you would call thinkers. When they approach a “critical debate”, they do not take a broad look at the issues, but instead push that problem around until it fits into it’s a predesigned space. It’s like shaving off the corners of a square peg to fit it into a round hole and then declaring that a square peg does fit into a round hole after all. The London bus campaign, which starts on Monday April 16, is another example of that.
Core Issues and the Anglican Mainstream (who are equally unhinged on the subject of homosexuality) start from the idea that the Stonewall ads claim people are born gay. That is not the case. It’s just lazy reading on their part. It’s saying some people are gay. The discussion over whether people are born gay, or their environment leads them to be gay, is of academic interest of course, but in a secular democracy it should not determine how anyone homosexual is treated. What matters is who you are, not how you turned out that way. The rest is spin and noise. The badgering of the Core Issues Trust is damaging, insulting, and has no grounding in ethics or science.
UPDATE: 18:20 GMT. Transport for London will not run the campaign: “We don’t believe these ads reflect TfL’s commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London”.
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