Stacey Dooley investigated patients’ aims and experiences in an objective documentary that saw her visit LA Pride, homes of several ‘convertees’ – as young as 17 – and a camping trip aimed at ‘masculinising’ men with same-sex attractions.
Dooley interviewed the founder of gay conversion therapy, Joseph Nicolosi, who said: “We believe people have same-sex attractions because of childhood trauma.
“I have never met a homosexual that has a loving relationship with their father.”
Ruling out the idea of a gay gene, therapists and patient Floyd Godfrey adopt the notion that homosexuality in men is a result of absent fathers. Sport was also offered on the program’s camping trip to deal with ‘body issues’ that supposedly cause same-sex attraction.
One therapy patient commented “I’m going to sacrifice now for the gains later,” affirming his belief that he will eventually experience natural feelings of attractions towards women. Despite admitting a daily addiction to gay pornography which he continues to fight, he claimed to feel a loss in attractions he felt towards men he encountered in the street.
EQCA is amongst the organisations shunning the suppression of homosexuality with therapy. Backing California’s new legislation banning minors from entering into conversion therapy, its president stated: “Too many young people have taken their own lives or suffered lifelong harm after being told, falsely, by a therapist or counsellor that who they are is wrong, sick or the result of personal or moral failure.”
Immediately after the change in Californian law, Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute sued the state, claiming the ban was a violation of free speech and private relationships between youth, families and their therapists. Despite conversion therapy being strongly associated with evangelical Christians in the U.S, religion went surprisingly unmentioned in the BBC documentary. Women undergoing therapy were also not featured.
Earlier this month, threats were fought off to bring conversion therapy to the UK. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) updated its policy guidelines, instructing its members of the unethicality of attempting to “convert” gay people to heterosexuality. The change came about after devoutly Christian psychotherapist Lesley Pilkington was struck off the member’s list for offering conversion therapy to an undercover journalist. In recognition of the World Health Organisation’s policy that such therapies can provoke serious harm to individuals’ mental health, the ban also follows the Mayor’s April decision to ban adverts on London buses promoting conversion therapy – with the slogan: “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!”