Conversion therapy advocates endangering queer youth

Halifax • 2018-06-18 • By Jordan Parker

Someone recently said to me, "When you're gay, you don't just come out once. You come out every time you meet someone new."

For a large sample size of the LGBTQI2S community, there's that original, fearful and honest moment with your friends, family and those closest to you.

But we meet new people, co-workers, associates, significant others of friends and any manner of others who intersect in our lives every day. We are consistently reaffirming who we are.

So imagine my disgust to hear two speakers from Ohio's Coming Out Ministries are headed to Pugwash this summer to discuss their successful push away from their lives as members of the LGBTQ+ community to youth.

They call themselves “a ministry which unites three individuals in sharing their testimonies of freedom from sexual sin and same-sex relationships.”

And they're set to spread their vitriol to a bunch of kids -- in their most vulnerable years -- about how what they feel is both a sin and morally wrong.

A study done by the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health states 33 per cent of LGB youth have attempted suicide in comparison to 7% of youth in general.

 

Also, a 2009 Pediatrics study from Ryan, Huebner, Diaz & Sanchez states adolescents who are rejected by their family members due to their sexuality are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.

Sheena Jamieson -- who works at LGBTQ organizaton The Youth Project -- discussed with Wayves the dangers of speakers like this.

"The outcomes of this practice are a sense of failure when it doesn't work, mental health struggles, depression, and even suicidality," she said.

"These parts of ourselves cannot be changed --and don't need to be changed. This is homophobia."

The YP and Halifax Pride have come together with a petition against these speakers, and addressed it to conference coordinators Seventh-day Adventist Church.

They have not yet granted Wayves an interview, and speaker Mike Carducci of Coming Out Ministries refused comment.

Carducci did speak to Maggie Rahr with The Star Metro Halifax, and would not liken what he preaches to conversion therapy.

“I think that conversion therapies — many of them — were very destructive,” he said. “I don’t promote them.”

“I thought it was beautiful, in the Bible,” he went on to say, “It doesn’t condemn the homosexual, it just condemns the practice.”

Call it what you want, Mr. Carducci. The fact is that telling young men, women and those in the trans community in this province that what they do and who they love is against God's will is doing deep psychological damage that cannot be undone.

"Whatever label it's given, his practice characterizes being LGBTQ2+ as sinful, needing to change, and that through prayer it's possible. These aren't ethical or acceptable things to do to other people. They are, in fact, widely discredited by multiple healthcare and medical associations," said Jamieson.

"His presence and his message will be damaging, and create a lot of needless struggle -- imagine the other ways they could use that time, energy and effort to be together in fellowship and faith, that doesn't involve putting the lives of queer and trans people at risk."

The petition currently has over 5,300 signatures, with offshoots garnering hundreds more. As of publication, the church has chosen not to cancel the speakers.

"They also declined to connect youth to affirming resources like the YP, opting only for their own approach (aka, Coming Out Ministries). They seem to be sticking to their plans despite any research or support we could offer," she said.

This isn't just another way to look at things. The teachings of Coming Out Ministries can have significant, adverse effects on our youth, and could cause irreversible harm.

Sign the petition at https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/250/609/780/ to make your voice heard. Or, call them at 902-423-3021 and tell them directly. Tell them that unless they cancel, they will have young people's blood on their hands.

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