31/07/2012

'Regulate Psychotherapy' Call From First 2012 Belfast Pride Event

An award-winning journalist has called on the UK government to regulate psychotherapy in a bid to stop controversial gay 'cures'.

Patrick Strudwick was speaking at Belfast's Europa Hotel last night.

His lecture, which kicked off Belfast Pride, charted his two-and-a-half-year investigation into the ways in which people try to 'cure' homosexuality.

Starting out with the declaration "I'm still very much a massive gay", Mr Strudwick told those assembled that 'conversion therapy', a type of therapy he himself underwent while working undercover as a journalist, was one of many techniques used around the world to try and 'cure' gay people.

While Mr Strudwick underwent therapy with two private psychiatrists, one face-to-face and one via Skype, one told him to visit a male masseur every week to 'cure' him and turn him heterosexual.

The other told him to take up playing rugby.

He was also told he must have been sexually abused before becoming gay, probably by a member of his own family.

He asked last night's audience to imagine how those words would "poison the mind" of someone who was not comfortable in their sexuality and who was not attending psychotherapy for journalistic reasons.

Psychotherapy is not currently regulated by the UK government and compulsory regulation is something Mr Strudwick has been campaigning for.

He said: "It's very clear that you can't and shouldn't try to change somebody's sexuality."

Mr Strudwick was hosted by Amnesty International NI as part of Pride week.

For more information see www.belfastpride.com.

(NE)

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