Apr 6, 2011

'Ex-gay' lectures canned

'Ex-gay' lectures canned

A visiting 'ex-gay' speaker has had three lectures in Australia cancelled in the space of two days following pressure from LGBTI rights activists.

A Brisbane Catholic school and two Melbourne councils have cancelled planned events at which Adam Hood - an American who claims he was "cured" of homosexuality - had intended to speak.

Hood has come under fire because of videos posted to YouTube in which he calls homosexuality "an abomination" and said homosexuals deserved to be damned to Hell.

St Columban's College in Caboolture said they had immediately cancelled the group's booking when activists brought the theme of the lectures to their attention.

"Immediately the college became aware of this, I withdrew permission for the meeting to be held on college property," college principal Ann Rebgetz told the Sunshine Coast Daily.

"St Columban’s College is a caring, inclusive community, and we will not allow our facilities to be used by those seeking to promote views which are not in line with the Catholic Christian ethos of our community."

A lecture in Prahran in Melbourne's Stonnington council area and one in the Greater Dandenong district were also nixed after their mayors were contacted by activists.

Mayor of Stonnington Melina Sehr, told LGBT advocate Anthony Venn-Brown, Stonnington is "a supportive, inclusive and vibrant municipality that embraces diversity."

"Given the nature of the event and the safety concerns that have been raised, Council has requested that New Hope Foundation cancel the event."

Venn-Brown told MCV councils and their staff needed to be educated on in LGBTI issues.

"Most of all, they need to learn about the impact outdated and negative views have on LGBTI youth," Venn-Brown said. "Not just that, but these views also encourage other young people into bullying those they perceive as LGBTI."

The third lecture in Noble Park was also cancelled.

Brisbane psychologist Paul Martin – once an 'ex-gay' leader himself - told MCV he had spoken to Greater Dandenong mayor Roz Blades. At first the council intended to uphold the hiring agreement but then realised the exact nature of the event.

"I told her about the psychological damage these 'ex-gay' programs can do to people. I've been working in this field for 15 years," Martin said.

"After considering the arguments and having received a number of emails and phone calls, the mayor told me the council would cancel the meeting."

"If you rally enough support together, people do listen," Martin said. "It's a very good result."

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