LMH hold discussion on corrective therapy for homosexuals

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first_imgAfter a turbulent LGBT History Month in Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall hosted a discussion on “corrective therapy” this Wednesday.The event, entitled “Pray the Gay Away?” encouraged students to “Hear from two men who’ve tried and failed” the controversial practice, which seeks to rid homosexuals of homoerotic desires.The discussion focused on the experiences of two individuals described by organisers as having a “fascinating personal connection with the issue.”The first, Patrick Strudwick, was a “multi-award-winning journalist and columnist,” who famously authored an exposé of corrective therapy in the Independent. His reporting led to a high-profile case in which his “therapist” was found guilty of professional malpractice.The second speaker was an administrative worker in the University who had “experienced corrective therapy for 2 years in his late twenties.” Both he and Strudwick discussed their personal experiences with the practice, and focused in particular on the “impact” it had on their lives.A representative of the LMH event noted that both speakers offered “a unique perspective on the topic,” adding, “Patrick Strudwick approached the practice with the view of exposing how this ‘therapy’ is offered in the UK. His ground-breaking reporting led to a greater awareness of the practice and its prevalence despite the fact that it’s been banned by the main accreditation agencies.”He continued, “Our second speaker turned to his Church pastor when he was in his twenties and in need of reassurance and support towards his sexuality. Instead he was subjected to two years of ‘corrective therapy’ which left a profound effect on his life.”The issue of corrective therapy has been the cause of much controversy this term, after it emerged that Exeter College was to host an event run by Christian Concern, a group which advocates such therapy.Owen Alun John, an LMH undergraduate behind the event, was confident that the discussion would “give a voice to some who haven’t spoken yet – ordinary gay people who’ve been through this, first-hand.” He added that he hoped the event had exposed “what this practice really involves – the exploitation of vulnerable people by reinforcing negative feelings towards their sexuality.”Alun John explained the “aim” behind the event as a desire to “debunk the corrective therapy myth by offering a unique opportunity to hear directly from two men who’ve been through it.” He also noted that it had the full support of all members of the college, stating, “The event had unanimous support in college, from the Principal herself through to ordinary JCR and MCR members.”He continued, “We’ve heard a lot in the University and national media recently from those who promote and practice this discredited ‘therapy;’ they’ve shared their pseudoscience and outright lies about how this practice is a great thing, has no harmful effects, and is just what many lonely and closeted gay Christians need.”He concluded, “This ‘therapy’ doesn’t make you happy or healthy, and as the Royal College of Psychiatrists has held, it is a “deeply damaging” experience with “no evidence of success””.Caspar Bullock, a first year student at LMH, described the event as a “fascinating” and “much needed discussion,” adding, “It’s great that LMH have been able to host such an event and have welcomed two speakers who both shared very personal experiences.”The event was funded by LMH JCR and SCR following a unanimous decision in favour of the motion during last week’s JCR meeting.last_img read more