Church Of England Calls For Banning Of LGBTQ Conversion Therapy

The practice is still legal in the majority of the U.S.

Leaders of the Church of England voted Saturday in favor of a motion that calls on the government of the country to ban the practice of conversion therapy. In addition to hearing from members who experienced conversion therapy firsthand, the church condemned the practice in general as something that has "no place in the modern world."


The motion passed in each of the three houses of the Church of England General Synod, the religious institution's governing body. 

"The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night," Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu stated during the debate on the motion, reports The Independent

Commonly seen as a controversial practice today, conversion therapy is the idea that through prayer, workshops and exercises, an individual who identifies as LGBTQ can change to a heteronormative and cisgender identity. The notion stems from an outdated and discredited belief that homosexuality is a mental illness. 

"We do not need to engage people in healing therapy if they are not sick," Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said during the debate, reports The Guardian

LGBT Campaigners protest outside Church of England, where same-sex marriage is debated at the headquarters of the Church of England in on Feb 15, 2017 in London. Twocoms / Shutterstock

The majority of states in the U.S. still allow the practice. In an interview with A Plus in May, Garrard Conley, who wrote about his time in conversion therapy in the memoir Boy Erased, discussed how in his experience, his parents genuinely believed sending him to a program called "Love in Action" after he was outed by a former classmate was the best thing for their son.

"My parents grew up thinking that if my child was gay, [he] would be strung up, beaten, and murdered," Conley told A Plus.

Conley said that understanding and fighting against the thoughts in society and religion that led his parents to that conclusion is what needs to be focused on.

"I think because we don't [have] many stories that are queer, it's easier for parents and these counselors to buy into these harmful ideas," he said. "Not that I shifted the blame necessarily — people were responsible for sending me there — but this was a much larger cultural moment. It's been happening since the beginning of our country. It's still happening. These things don't go away."

Cover image via Twocoms / Shutterstock


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