LGBT activists protest at so-called gay conversion therapy church event

Protesters gathered outside Windsor Baptist Church in south Belfast. Credit: UTV

An LGBT wellbeing organisation has protested against a so-called gay conversion therapy event at a south Belfast church.

The Rainbow Project gathered outside Windsor Baptist Church on Malone Avenue on Saturday morning.

The church was hosting a True Freedom Trust conference "for Christians who experience same-sex temptations".

Protesters gathered outside Windsor Baptist Church in protest of the so-called gay conversion therapy conference. Credit: UTV

John O'Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project, said conversion therapy and "all other so-called sexual orientation change efforts are condemned by mental health, counselling and psychotherapy bodies around the world as unethical and harmful."

He added: "‘These practices are rooted in homophobia, transphobia, prejudice and stereotyping and are targeted at the most vulnerable members of our community.

Stuart Parker, Director of True Freedom Trust, said the event seeks to 'encourage people in their Christian walk' and 'point people to what the bible says'.

Mr Parker denied that the event was promoting gay conversion therapy.

He said: "I think we've been misunderstood today because we're not advocating, we're not offering conversion therapy.

"We make it quite clear in our policies and on our website that we're not promoting conversion therapy...we might encourage some people who are struggling with their mental health to get good quality counselling."

The True Freedom Trust is a Christian organisation, set-up in 1977 and based in the UK and Ireland.

It's the first time the TFT has held an event like this in Belfast.

The Rainbow Project said it 'will always stand against conversion therapy in whatever guise it presents itself'.