Friday, 16 March 2018

Pray the Gay Away...Let me hear you now...Amen!

“Change the use of the word THERAPY and instead use the word TORTURE”.

Fair warning, this is going to be a bit of a rant but I have to put these thoughts down into some kind of coherent message.

But before I go down that winding route, I first want to give a huge shout out to Senator Fintan Warfield (Sinn Fein) who this week has introduced a bill to prohibit conversion therapy, as a deceptive and harmful act or practice against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression. It also aims to stop people being brought out of the state for such therapies. (proposed legislation HERE)

If you believe the Earth is flat, that God created the World in 7 days (a few thousand years ago), that dinosaurs are not real and that it is possible to Pray the Gay away...well by all means keep your opinion but you can stop reading now. If however you are a person of strong faith and believe in the love and understanding of your God(s) stay with me. Put it this way, I can respect you have a strong faith if you can respect the knowledge, study and opinion of medical professionals, or, look at it another way, if you need a heart transplant, you and your family and friends will probably say a prayer to God to keep an eye on you but you will still go to the heart surgeon for the operation. Any-who...

I want to talk about gay conversion therapy and why it should be banned in Ireland. I ask everyone to pester their elected representatives and ask them to support this new bill. Even using the term THERAPY is misleading. According to OED, therapy has two definitions:

1. Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. Example: “a course of antibiotic therapy” &

2. The treatment of mental or psychological disorders by psychological means. Example: “he is currently in therapy”

Being gay is not a disorder. When discussing this barbaric practice we should change the use of the word THERAPY and instead use the word TORTUREAcross Europe and the World, medical professionals are condemning the use of conversion (therapy) torture. Malta became the first country in Europe to ban these therapies

(You cannot switch being gay on and off.)

In the EU’s latest report on Fundamental Rights, there are many statements about the rights and freedoms of LGBT people (including Trans people being allowed to officially change their gender) and the Intergroup’s Sirpa Pietik√§inen (MEP) says “The UN Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Human Rights Committee have already condemned the practice of conversion therapy in several countries.”

In the UK, medical bodies including the NHS have signed a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding that disavows gay cure therapy. British health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said “The Government rejects utterly the notion that sexuality is something to be cured, and condemns gay conversion therapy. 

It has been condemned in the US by groups such as the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association. At home in Ireland, the practice of conversion therapy has also been condemned and discredited by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.

The National LGBT Federation (NXF) Board Member Adam Long commented: “The National LGBT Federation is very pleased to be working with Senator Warfield to ensure that harmful and abusive so-called gay ‘conversion therapy’ is prohibited in Ireland. A ban is all the more pressing in light of comments by Mary McAleese recently, which highlighted the prevalence of this practice in Ireland, and also the very firm resolution passed by the European Parliament last week calling on all member states to implement a ban. We therefore call on all parties and members of the Oireachtas to support Senator Warfield’s legislation.”

The NXF also says: "This so-called 'therapy', which has been condemned by all reputable health organisations, is not only ineffective but deeply harmful to LGBT individuals subjected to such 'treatment'. It is rooted in homophobic assumptions and ideologies and has no place in any civilised society”.

So, I hope you are still with me. Summary so far, it is not therapy, it is torture and many professionals around the World condemn the use of such “therapy”. A complete list of professional opinion is here.

Ok, so we can agree this (therapy) torture never did and never will work. There is nothing medically wrong with not falling into a hetronormative role and there is nothing to be cured. There is no medical evidence to back up the practice of such therapies. But, you think, sure this isn’t happening in Ireland so it doesn’t matter...

Oh, darling you are so wrong. I heard it was happening a few years ago – back in 2010 Cormac O’Brien investigated and reported in GCN about it -

And now former President Mary McAleese revealed that an international Catholic group run by Courage was operating a chapel in Dublin where priests sought to help “persons who experience SSA [same-sex attraction] to grow into their true identities”.

So this is happening in Ireland. HERE and NOW.
Leo Varadkar is visiting Mike Pence this morning and he says he hopes there will be time to discuss gay rights. However, Pence has barred the press from the meeting and I can only imagine how "unfortunately" there will not be time to discuss these issues. Of course we already know that Pence is an advocate of such therapy. In reality, Varadkar probably cannot sway either Trump or Pence’s opinion anyway.

But here’s what we can do, we can keep tweeting and posting about the issue. We can keep asking our elected officials their opinion & educate them about the damage these therapies do. We can ask them to support this new bill. We the people are the only ones that can make a difference. Love is Love. 

John The Captain Ryan

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