Conversion Therapy

I have wanted to write this for a number of weeks because the UK government is seeking to ban conversion therapy. I am against the ban and I will tell you why. I know this is controversial, but stick with me and read what I have to say.

Conversion therapy in the UK that was practised in the NHS (National Health Service, our free health service for any UK citizen) was practised up until the mid 1990s. It could include giving the “patient” electric shocks or giving them a drink that would induce vomiting and diarrhea. The “patient” would be shown sexualised images of people of the same sex. The aim of this conversion therapy was to make the person associated attraction to the same sex with physical pain or being repulsed at the physical mess they were in. It was cruel and dehumanising. This practice was outlawed and rightly so.

“Conversion therapy” today revolves around talking therapies, and if the person is religious it involves prayer. The person is free to leave at any time. No one is forced to engage in any therapy at all in the UK.

The BBC has published an article saying how conversion therapy left a 17 year old “traumatised”. Being prayed for, as he was, does not leave a person traumatised. I should know. I have been prayed for hundreds, possibly thousands of times. Most Christians have been prayed for hundreds of times. Receiving prayer from others is a key part of our living faith. It is part of living in community with others. I have prayed for hundreds of people.

We sometimes put our hands onto people’s heads, shoulders, hold their hand while we are praying for them. This is because God’s power moves through us, and so we want that power to move to the person we are praying for. Laying on of hands also symbolises that we care about that person and we are standing with them in their need.

Do demons get driven out? I have been in churches where prayer became quite loud and the person being prayed for started convulsing and making loud noises and screaming. They were not being harmed at all by the people praying for them, so it is obvious that something else was going on. Whether it was driving out demons from the person or the person releasing trauma they had held in, you would have to ask the individual what was true in their case.

When it comes to the talking therapies for LGBT people, it is just a talking therapy. No one is approached by a therapist. The LGBT person contacts a therapist. Talking therapies are led by the client. I am a semi-trained counsellor. I have known several therapists who work with LGBT clients on matters around their sexual orientation. When someone enters therapy wanting change for their sexual orientation, the first question the therapist asks is “Why?” Why does the person want to change their sexual orientation?

If it is out of self-hatred, the therapist tells the client to have a real think. The therapist might want to work on the client’s self-hatred. Most Christians do not think anyone should hate themselves. We are created and loved by God. We should not hate ourselves.

The talking therapies are always conducted by therapists who have fully recognised counselling certificates, who are fully trained under UK law. They are mostly person centred and CBT based. The sessions run just like any normal therapy session. The person is often asked to make a time line of their lives and chart important events and people. As I have covered in previous posts, evidence shows we are not born LGBT. 40% gay females and 20% gay males are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, whereas 25% heterosexual females and 12% heterosexual males are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It is clear that for many LGBT people, sexual abuse has played a role in the development of our sexual orientation. LGBT people also have higher incidence of having a parent with a severe mental health condition, a detachment from the same sex parent, being bullied in school from a young age or come from otherwise chaotic backgrounds. The therapist will seek to work on these traumas.

By working on the actual trauma, the therapist and client will work through issues the client currently has, which will be difficulties relating to the same sex, difficulties relating to the opposite sex and difficulties relating to themselves. The aim of the therapy is to make the person free from the effects of trauma.

Some people do become heterosexual as a result of working through their trauma. Mostly homosexual people become bisexual. I have known several women who were sexually abused in childhood so were terrified or repulsed by men, they had therapy for the abuse and became attracted to men as they worked through the effects of the abuse with a therapist. I have known men who were homosexual have therapy for the effects of having an absent father and they became attracted to women.

Myself, I have worked through many issues I had coming from parents who physically and mentally abused my sister and I, having been bullied in primary school and growing up around the sex industry. I am still bisexual but my crazy, overwhelming feelings have ceased, and I am no longer trans. Being trans was harmful for me personally because I had urges to cut off parts of my body with a knife, and I was emotionally overrun at times. I worked through my hatred of women with an LGBT Christian Bible study group and I lived abroad among women who were intelligent, multilingual, cared more about personality than appearance and above all were simply nice to me and were friends with me, which was a totally different experience to my experience of women in the UK.

Several articles in the mainstream media have raised the matter of Christian organisations calling LGBT people “sexually broken”. Yes, all humans, according to evangelical Christianity, are sexually broken. What this means is everyone’s sexuality is affected negatively by the imperfect world we live in. LGBT people are not singled out in this theology at all. The mainstream media and leftist publications are simply trying to stir up anti-Christian sentiment by asserting that Christianity sees LGBT people as “sexually broken”. According to evangelical beliefs, all areas of all people’s lives are broken because we are negatively affected by living in an imperfect world. I personally do not use this language, although I agree with the basis of its meaning, because I think it encourages people to focus on what is wrong in their life, instead of what is going well in their life and the many blessings they have.

I do not think praying for people to change sexual orientation should be banned, and I do not think talking therapies for sexual orientations should be banned. LGBT people are not so pathetic and weak and child like that we need special laws in place to protect us from the big bad world. It is homophobic to even assert that we need such protections. We can stand up for ourselves.

LGBT people need to be treated as equal to heterosexuals. Heterosexual people get prayer for their sexual urges and heterosexual people get therapy for their sexual urges. Heterosexual people suppress their sexuality every day. Heterosexual people make decisions that they later regret. Heterosexual people get emotionally hurt by things they have chosen to engage with. We do not make those things illegal. Instead, we tell heterosexual people to take responsibility for their own lives and their own decisions.

So why treat LGBT people as less? It is homophobic to push forward a law that says LGBT people cannot take responsibility for their own lives, their own decisions to engage with activities, and take responsibility for any negative emotional fall out.

What I want is for LGBT people to be able to say NO to anything they don’t want. If you don’t want conversion therapy, say NO to anyone who suggests it. Most LGBT people choose to go to a therapist or get prayer of their own volition, not because anyone has suggested it to them. But I want LGBT people to develop the ability to say NO. Say NO to any therapy you don’t want. Say No to any prayer you don’t want. I have stopped people from praying for me because their prayers for me were inaccurate and not what I wanted. I told the people to stop praying for me and to go away, and they did.

I want LGBT people to develop the ability to say NO. Say NO to any sex you don’t want. Say NO to any person approaching you you don’t want. Say NO to any extra work your boss wants to pile on you. Say NO to any door to door sales person. Learn to say NO.

I want LGBT people to be strong enough to decide for themselves what they want for their own life, and to take responsibility for their own life. I want LGBT people to stop seeing themselves as victims. Michael Stipe, Angelina Jolie, Julius Caesar, Calligula, Peter Teele and Martina Navratilova are not victims. They are strong, courageous people – the top people in the world for what they do or did.

I want LGBT people to give up the victim narrative. Yes, life is hard. I have been through plenty of work place discrimination. I now have my own business, which is successful. I come from a bad family, but I have made plenty of great friends. I do have to work or I will be homeless. This pushes me to develop my skills and further my business. I am not a victim.

I now want the UK government to stop treating me like a victim and stop this ban against conversion therapy. Legislating against prayer and therapy is legislating against choices people make in their private lives. These have nothing to do with government. What is next? Legislating against praying for people’s illnesses? Legislating against therapy for depression? This is a slippery slope into tyranny. In the last month, a Christian cafe has been told by police to stop displaying Bible verses in the cafe.

There are many support groups for LGBT Christians, and LGBT people of other religions. Some I recommend, some I don’t. Try them out for yourself and see which fit you. In Christianity, being attracted to the same sex isn’t a big deal in most expressions of Christianity. All Christians are held to the same standard in the Bible, which is no sex outside of marriage. Jesus said the only relationship He recognised was between one man and one woman for life. This governs the lives of heterosexual people as well as LGBT people. There are 9 verses that refer to same sex practice in the Bible. There are 137 verses that refer to opposite sex practice. Does God hate straight people?!

Heterosexual Christians are held to the same standards as LGBT Christians in the Bible. Yes, there is a huge difference to how churches and individuals treat Christians who are same sex attracted or have gender dysphoria, but the Bible does not see any difference in sexual or gender orientation. There are bad translations of the Bible that use the word “homosexuals”. That is a bad translation of the original language. The Bible talks about sexual acts, not people themselves. In fact, St Peter in the Bible said that Christianity was for men who receive anal sex from other men. By saying this, he both included LGBT people into Christianity and fought homophobia. God does not see any difference in sexual or gender orientation. God sees us as dearly loved children.

The main reason why I no longer am a member of any LGBT Christian organisation is my sexual orientation does not mean much to me. When I was younger and had overwhelming attractions to others and when I was in emotional turmoil because of my personal history, I needed and welcomed the help I got. I want others to have the amazing help and fellowship I had. One of the aims of the organisation I belonged to was that people get help for the root causes of their orientations, overcome the difficulties their personal history poses, and as a result be able to relate better to themselves, to others and to God, and eventually not need any support.

LGBT people should be treated and classified as equal to heterosexuals under UK law. By banning LGBT people from being able to approach a therapist for an issue they want to explore and banning therapists from following the wishes of their client, this prevents therapists from working with an ethos of equality, and it changes the equality status of LGBT people in UK law. I know people mean well, but the reality of a ban on conversion therapy would be a step back for LGBT people and our human rights.

About catherinehume

Catherine Hume: Writer, social care worker and a liver of a life less ordinary.
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