Global conversion therapy study expresses concern over practices in Ireland

The report published by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism drew attention towards two organisations, both based in Co. Down.

A man is visibly upset in therapy, as a new conversion therapy study has been published.
Image: Pexels

A global study examining the presence of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy worldwide has expressed particular concern over two Ireland-based providers. The report names Core Issues Trust (CIT), and X-OUT-LOUD as significant figures within the industry, both of which are situated in Co. Down.

CIT describes itself as “a non-profit Christian ministry supporting men and women with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression.” Their website also provides information on “therapy” and “clinical training” surrounding sexual orientation.

X-OUT-LOUD is connected to CIT, and aims to “popularise” the narrative of young people leaving the LGBTQ+ community as a result of conversion therapy.

In reference to X-OUT-LOUD, the report published by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) states: “The group markets itself as a hip, young, diverse European organisation that represents those who have ‘voluntarily chosen to leave unwanted same-sex or gender identities.’”

Adding on to this, President of GPAHE, Wendy Via, told the Irish Examiner that these Irish organisations are “significant” players within the global market.

“They have a lot of US support – that’s scary. We don’t want US folks to stop these conversion therapy bans in Europe, but the network is significant and comprehensive,” she commented.

The report published today, Wednesday, January 12, also examines the availability of disinformation online, and how these organisations manoeuvre search engine de-listing.

Via explained that “tech companies made a pledge a couple of years ago to de-rank disinformation related to conversion therapy,” in theory making it more difficult to find practices online. However, by adapting their messaging, conversion therapy providers are remaining visible.

“In Ireland, where much of the search results are authoritative (fact-checked), that is not true for ‘reintegrative therapy’. That search leads to several links on the first page to this therapy’s providers and to other conversion therapy organisations such as Desert Stream Living Waters,” the report states.

The study also found that in Ireland, “the algorithms of the social media companies can lead users down a conversion therapy rabbit hole once they land on a provider.”

In response to this information, CEO of BeLonG To, Moninne Griffith, said: “We need a complete ban on this dangerous and discredited practice based on the false notion that being LGBTQI+ is something that should be cured, rather than accepted and respected.

“Attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity through conversion therapy is a form of family rejection that can result in serious mental health challenges. LGBTQI+ young people deserve acceptance and should never be forced to change who they are or who they love.”

Conversion therapy remains legal in Ireland and the UK, while countries such as France have recently banned the practice.

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