Stacey Dooley meets 19-year-old TJ and other young gay American men going through controversial ‘gay conversion therapy’ to try and turn themselves straight.

See the episode here

Malachai O’Hara, The Rainbow Project’s Mental Health Development Officer, commented as follows:

‘Gay Cure’ or ‘Reparative Therapy’  has been widely discredited both nationally and internationally. At best these therapies do not work, and at worst, they further damage the victim who may already be struggling and further exacerbate risk of suicide, self-harm, and other associated risk taking behaviours. In January of this year, a number of organisations working to promote emotional health and wellbeing in Northern Ireland, signed an open letter condemning this dangerous practice. Please see  letter below.

 In addition, on the 18th of September 2012, the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, the governing body for these professions, issued a letter to its 30,000 members. In this letter BACP made it very clear that  ‘BACP opposes any psychological treatment such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder, or based on the premise that the client/patient should change his/her sexuality’. It continues ‘that practices such as conversion or reparative therapies ‘have no medical indication and represent a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons’. The full transcript of this letter can be found at

 The Rainbow Project, Cara-Friend and Here NI  provide a range of social and peer support services, professional emotional health and wellbeing support including professional counselling services for those struggling or unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We believe that all sexual orientations and gender identities are equal, and our counselling provision is non-directive. We would encourage any individual or family member that is concerned about their own or a family members sexual orientation and/or gender identity to contact us directly on

Open letter on Reparative Therapy;

On January 20 and 21 Core Issues Trust will be hosting a conference at Orangefield Presbyterian Church entitled ‘The Lepers Among Us – Homosexuality and the Church’.

 We the undersigned believe the use of the term lepers in this context to be inflammatory, homophobic and harmful.  We are dedicated to equality of opportunity, oppose homophobia in all its forms and believe that homophobia has a serious impact on the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. We recognise non-heterosexual sexual orientations to be as valid a sexual orientation as heterosexuality and accept sexual orientation to be assigned from birth and something that cannot be changed.

 We condemn Core Issues Trust for organising the conference and believe their, and all, practice of reparative/conversion therapy to be inappropriate and potentially harmful. In December 1998, the American Psychiatric Association rejected reparative therapy as ineffective and potentially destructive. Their Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a position statement opposing reparative therapy.

 The UK Council for Psychotherapy adopted a statement on reparative therapy which states ‘UKCP does not consider homosexuality or bisexuality, or transsexual and transgendered states to be pathologies, mental disorders or indicative of developmental arrest. These are not symptoms to be treated by psychotherapists, in the sense of attempting to change or remove them’.

 We call on all likeminded people and organisations to speak out against this conference and to continue to work towards a society where all people are treated as equals regardless of their race, age, gender, religious belief, political opinion, disability status, economic status or sexual orientation.


The Rainbow Project
Cookstown and Western Shores Area Network
Falls Women’s Centre
Brook NI
East Belfast Community Development Association
East Belfast Survivors Of Suicide Support Group
East Belfast Community Counselling
Compass Advocacy Network
Dunlewey Substance Advice Centre NI
Citizens Advice
Institute for Conflict Research
Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland
Advice NI
Dublin Aids Alliance
Causeway Rural and Urban Network
Family Ties
ICTU Youth
Unison LGBT Committee
Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities
Newry Rainbow Community
Strabane & Lifford LGBT Group
Niamhlouise Foundation

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