Catholic groups join boycott of UK government’s LGBTQ conference


Three Catholic LGBTQ organizations have joined more than 100 groups in the UK who have withdrawn their support for a government-organized LGBTQ conference which was later canceled

Quest, LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council and the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics have all joined in a boycott statement from the LGBT+ Network Consortium. This statement endorses the decision by Stonewall, the UK’s leading LGBTQ group, to boycott the government’s Safe To Be Me conference scheduled for June. The statement explains:

“The British government’s plans to abolish legislation banning conversion practices were odious. What has made matters worse is a quick U-turn that has actively excluded our trans brothers and sisters, and we refuse to sit idly by and let that happen. Trans rights are human rights and we stand in solidarity with every trans organization and every trans person on this issue. The UK government’s own data shows that trans people are more likely to undergo so-called conversion therapy, with data showing an even higher risk for black trans people. A ban that excludes trans people is unacceptable and we, as the LGBT+ sector, need to speak up about this and stand in solidarity. »

The LGBT+ consortium also included Stonewall’s individual statement, which calls on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to add a ban on gender identity-related conversion therapy back into legislation. The Safe To Be Me conference was set to be a major event as the first global LGBTQ event hosted by the government of this country. BBC now reports that the conference has now been cancelled.

In an addendum to the LGBT+ Consortium Statement, the Westminster Pastoral Council of LGBT+ Catholics reaffirmed the rejection of conversion therapy by the Catholic Bishops‘ Conference of England and Wales in 1979. This text, which uses language dated, reads in part:

“In the case of true homosexuals or ‘inverts’, professional therapy can be helpful in helping them come to terms positively with their condition, but therapy should never be suggested in a way that raises false expectations of reversal or ‘a modification of the homosexual condition.

While it’s disappointing that a global conference on LGBTQ equality had to be canceled, boycotting these Catholic groups and other advocates is the right choice. Too often, LGBTQ groups put the concerns of the trans and non-binary community second to those of lesbian and gay people. The refusal of Stonewall and its partners to accept a ban on conversion therapy that only covered sexual orientation is an important act of solidarity. Hopefully this experience will inspire Boris Johnson and his government to reconsider a ban on conversion therapy that also includes gender identity.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, April 8, 2022


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