Northern Irish 'conversion therapy' group attempt to have their bank account reinstated with right-wing petition

The petition for the Northern Irish conversion therapy group is hosted on a right-wing focused website which hosts other petitions such as 'Defund the World Health Organisation'.

Image: The Rainbow Project

A petition launched by CitizenGO Africa, on behalf of Core Issues Trust, is attempting to reinstate the bank accounts of the Northern Irish ‘conversion therapy’ group.

In July, Core Issues Trust, the most prominent ‘conversion therapy’ group in Ireland and the UK, said it had been served notice by Barclays that their account would be shut down.

Founder Michael Davidson claimed that he was sent letters from Barclays saying ”that their accounts will be closing in two months, mid-September.”

A close up of Michael Davidson, head of a gay conversion therapy group
Head of Core Issues Trust, Michael Davidson

While no reason was given for the closure of accounts, it came following pressure from LGBT+ activists.

Davidson said: “A coordinated campaign has resulted in our ministry coming under immense pressure and key service providers cancelling their services, action which we consider to be discriminatory.”

Davidson previously said that the email service provider Mailchimp and payments provider PayPal had also banned the group from their services.

Davidson has also previously complained that the company’s email address, [email protected], had “without consent, been signed up to porn sites such as PornHub, UK Lads, Lesbian Videos and a range of fetish sites.”

In May, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland was called on to reassess the charitable status of Core Issues Trust following multiple complaints that the group promotes ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBT+ people.

Last week, Ministers in Northern Ireland agreed to move forward with a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ along with a review of the Sexual Orientation Strategy.

Communities Minister Carál Ni Chuilín agreed to take the policy lead on the issue at a meeting with Health Minister Robin Swann and Justice Minister Naomi Long.

‘Conversion therapy’ refers to a range of practices aimed at changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, which has been reported to cause long term harm.

Co-founder of Ban Conversion Therapy Matthew Hyndman said, “The people who I have spoken to about it, they have had [medical] therapy as a result afterwards but they were subjected to some of the most horrific things that you can imagine.”

There are currently no legislative bans on the practice or advertisement of ‘conversion therapy’ in Ireland despite a proposed bill passing into the second stage of the Seanad in 2018.

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