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Activists on alert as Christians move gay ‘cure’ meet to secret location

Campaigners say conference to train people in dangerous ‘cures’ for gay and trans people will be shifted to Chesterfield, England
Chesterfield, England, is now expected to host the conference which will train people to 'cure' gays.
Photo by Jon Bennett.

LGBT activists are on red alert as a Christian ministry prepares for a meeting which will allegedly train people how to carry out discredited ‘cures’ for homosexual and trans impulses.

It is now believed conference – the 2012 ‘Healing Week’ running from 12 to 18 August – will be held in city of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England.

It is arranged by evangelical organization Living Waters, affiliated to an organization called Desert Stream, and costs £495 ($772 €629) to attend. It is designed to ‘train the trainers’ and according to the organization’s website will cover topics such as ‘low self-esteem, fear, shame, feeling fatherless and inability to commit’.

But it claims ‘it is also useful for those wanting to look at sexual or gender issues such as sexual addiction, … pornography, self-identified and unwanted same-sex attraction, promiscuity, prostitution, misogyny etc.’

The ‘etc’ in this instance is likely to include ‘cross-dressing/transsexuality’, which the organization includes with ‘recovery from abuse of any kind’.

The idea of ‘curing’ gays of their sexuality has been discredited by scientists and professional bodies and labeled as ‘dangerous’ to its victims by the Pan American branch of the World Health Organization.

As Gay Star News reported yesterday (9 August) digital activism group All Out are urging people to sign a petition against so-called gay 'cures', urging governments to ban them. It has so far attracted over 63,000 signatures with a target of 100,000.

The Living Waters approach to LGBT people may be surmised from their inclusion of ‘healing of the masculine’ as a course module.

This reflects the thinking of author Leanne Payne, author of works such as ‘Healing the Homosexual’ and ‘Crisis in masculinity’, who argues that every person has both masculinity and femininity that must be ‘affirmed’ in order to avoid psychological problems. Several of her works are for sale on the Living Waters site.

The conference was originally planned to take place at Wymondham College in Norfolk. On learning of this, Caroline Jones, chair of the Norfolk LGBT Disabled Association contacted police a week ago to alert them to the possibility that an event encouraging hate speech was being staged. Norfolk Police agreed to investigate.

Another member of that organization e-mailed the college, asking that they cancel.

It has since emerged that despite the fact that the Living Water website still advertises the course as taking place at that location, the event had already been moved at the request of the college, which is a state day-pupil and boarding school with little known affiliation to evangelical Christianity.

According to information obtained by Norfolk activists, the course has now moved to a location in Derbyshire, in or around the Chesterfield area. However, this is not confirmed by the Living Waters site: the actual location of the conference, which is now full, is only disclosed to applicants after they have been accepted on the course and attended an interview at the organization’s offices in London.

We asked Living Waters for comment both on the conference and on opposition to their activities. They declined to do so, complaining only of ‘unhelpful experiences’ with journalists in the past.

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