of PLUC on Conversion / Reparative Therapy
- As a Christian organisation, PLUC understands there is a difference between the ideology of LGBT and Christian doctrine. However, we are committed to pursuing a loving relationship with all people, especially the LGBT community, as a fundamental value based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
- PLUC is committed to uphold love and respect for LGBT communities.1 As such, we condemn any harmful/hurtful practice against these communities, including humiliating and shaming them. We are aware of the potential risks of “conversion or reparative therapy” in causing harm to LGBT individuals, especially where they are subject to coercion and punishment.
- PLUC strongly opposes any form of conversion therapy that coerces LGBT individuals to change same-sex attraction and transgender identification against their wishes. We do not assume by default that diverse sexual orientations and gender identities per se are indicative of mental illness and therefore require change. We respect the rights of all LGBT individuals to privacy, personal dignity, self-determination and autonomy, should they wish to remain status quo. They should be allowed to enjoy all human rights without any discrimination or government-mandated sexual identification.
- By the same principle, PLUC is equally respectful of the rights of LGBT individuals who wish to seek help to change. We strongly believe that prohibiting the freedom and rights of individuals with unwanted SSA and transgenderism not only violates their human rights and freedom of choice, but potentially causes harm to them. As such, we oppose any legislation which prohibits the freedom and right of LGBT individuals who wish to seek help to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Given the above, PLUC is unequivocal in asserting that any attempt or agenda to label the service we offer our clients as “faith-based conversion therapy” would be untrue, unfair and grossly misleading2. In the spiritual direction3 provided to LGBT clients who voluntarily come to us4, we do not impose our values on them, nor do we collude with parents or spiritual leaders in forcing an LGBT individual to change. When a client seeks help at PLUC for an unwanted same-sex attraction, we firstly ensure that they are well-informed of possible outcomes without false expectations5. We believe that when the intervention mainly focuses on remediation of relationships6 and holistic personal growth, and NOT on the change of sexual orientation or gender identity, the benefits to our clients hugely outweigh any risk of harm.7
Updated : 17th August 2020 (v.1)
1Our principles of love and respect:
- All people, including LGBT communities, have unalienable rights to personal dignity and freedom.
- All people, including LGBT communities, should feel safe about their gender identity and sexual orientation.
- All people, including LGBT communities, should have a right to their personal religious convictions and be free to adhere to its doctrines on LGBT practice.
2The service and counseling that we provide our clients is entirely different from the commonly held understanding of “faith-based conversion or reparative therapy” in the following ways:
- Change in same-sex attraction is not our goal. Our primary goal is remediation of relationships and holistic personal growth. This approach benefits all LGBT who seek our help.
- We do not adopt the a priori assumption that diverse sexual orientations and gender identities per se (e.g. homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender identities) are reflective of mental illness and therefore require change.
- We oppose conversion therapy that punishes and coerces LGBT individuals to change their same-sex attraction against their wishes. We do not impose our values on our clients, nor do we collude with their parents or spiritual leaders in forcing LGBT individuals to change.
- We have never condoned nor adopted any techniques allegedly used previously in conversion therapy in the United States and Western Europe before 1981, such as icepick lobotomies, chemical castration with hormonal treatment, aversive treatments such as the application of electric shock to the hands and/or genitals, nausea-inducing drugs administered simultaneously with the presentation of homoerotic stimuli, or masturbatory reconditioning. Neither do we encourage LGBT individuals to use “cold showers” or other practices to suppress their sexual desires.
3 Spiritual Direction is from the Christian heritage of pastoral care and shepherding, which involves the voluntary participation of an individual in a loving relationship with a Pastor/leader/caregiver.
4This refers to those who voluntarily seek help to change unwanted same-sex attraction, and have expressed a wish to give up their gay lifestyle and the emotional satisfaction of gay relationships. They have different reasons for giving up the gay lifestyle – some of them have been disappointed or hurt in a gay relationship, while others consider that homosexual acts contradict their personal and religious beliefs. Their decisions were made after careful consideration. Most of them wish to change their sexual behaviors, but some desire to explore the possibility of changing their sexual orientation. They have failed to benefit from mainstream gay-affirmative approaches where they were often just encouraged to accept their same-sex attraction and their identity as gay, being told these orientations are inborn and immutable, and attempts to change them might inflict serious harm like heightened anxiety, depression, despair, suicidality and self-hatred.
5According to the individual needs and desire of LGBT clients and their families, and with explicit informed consent, we help them express their distress and struggles, or explore the possible underlying causations of their same-sex attraction. Our primary goal is two-fold: to help them achieve holistic personal growth and remediation of relationships.
6Remediation of relationships is an approach to help our clients rebuild relationships with family, relatives, friends, faith-community and others. The process of change and remediation is not easy, and it requires patient, persevering and unconditional love from helpers but it appears to benefit all LGBT individuals who come to us. From our experience, even those who choose to maintain their same-sex attraction also benefit from this approach, reporting a reconstruction of personal worth and confidence, reduction of shame and guilt, and improvement in family and peer relationships.
7In our experience of journeying with our clients, their parents and community over the last 18 years, PLUC has discovered that after remediation of relationships and achievement of personal growth with subsequent changes in sexual orientation, many of our transformed LGBT clients reported an improvement in social, mental and spiritual well-being, and they did not experience psychological harm during the counseling process. As we helped them strengthen their sexual identity as male or female, rebuild personal worth, resolve their past relational trauma, and remediated their family and peer relationships, there were often unexpected concomitant and spontaneous changes in their sexual orientation. We believe these changes were a byproduct of the psychological or spiritual intervention we provided with remediation of relationships as the main goal.
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