Reports of a Christian registered psychotherapist using ‘Sexual Orientation Change Efforts’ have been met with alarm by the British Humanist Association (BHA). Mrs Lesley Pilkington faces a disciplinary hearing by the British Association of Psychology and Counselling this week after being reported for trying to ‘convert’ a gay man to being heterosexual.
Pilkington is reported as saying she uses a biblical framework in an attempt to alter the sexual orientation of patients, believing that everybody is heterosexual but some people have a homosexual problem". When questioned by the undercover journalist Patrick Strudwick whether homosexuality was "a mental illness, an addiction or an anti-religious phenomenon’", Pilkington is reported to have replied "It is all of that".
Pilkington is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre which "exists to promote Christian Truth in the public arena and to protect the freedom of Bible-believing Christians’" The Christian Legal Centre has supported a number of cases of alleged unfair dismissal on religious grounds. Recent cases include those of Duke Amachree, Gary MacFarlane and Lillian Ladele, all of whom lost their cases and were not found to be victims of unlawful religious discrimination.
Naomi Phillips, BHA's Head of Public Affairs commented: "The notion that homosexuality is a problem that may be ‘cured’ is profoundly objectionable and wrong. It is nothing short of brutal that a therapist would attempt to change a patient’s sexual orientation.
"It is vital that unsubstantiated and potentially harmful methods cannot be allowed to masquerade as a legitimate practice, and where, regrettably, ‘conversion therapy’ continues to exist, it is not subsidised by public funds. We are pleased that Royal College of Psychiatrists has condemned this practice, and that this case is currently under investigation."