Gay rights activists will stage a protest outside a religious gay conversion conference on Saturday in Melbourne.
The religious groups are operating as part of the Exodus Global Alliance, which states on its website (www.exodusglobalalliance.org) that “change is possible for the homosexual through the transforming power of Jesus Christ”.
The conference claims it will teach troubled young gay men and lesbians how to overcome their “unwanted homosexuality”.
Conference organisers will fly in “expert” speakers from across the country to inform participants they don’t have to lead the “homosexual lifestyle”.
News of the conference has angered gay rights activists, who will stage a protest outside the conference as participants arrive. Their message will be that homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of and that conversion is a farce.
“You can’t choose to become straight just because your religious leaders tell you that homosexuality is a sin,” Melbourne gay rights campaigner Tim Wright said.
“Churches need to be teaching their gay and lesbian members to be proud of who they are, not ashamed. This conference will only cause more pain and anguish for the participants, not help them.
“The conference organisers may have seen the light, but they are certainly not enlightened. It’s as if they’re living in a different age.
“Our message to participants is: if your church rejects you because of your sexuality, you should reject your church. Closets are for clothes, not people.”
info: The protest will be held from 10.40am this Saturday, September 19, at The Factory, 8-12 Simla St, Mitcham.