SYDNEY-based ex-gay organisation Liberty Christian Ministries has appointed a new head for their pastoral care program that claims to offer support for people with “unwanted same-sex attractions”, sparking concern over the organisation’s continuing activities.

According to the organisation’s newsletter, Allan Starr will begin running the pastoral care program in February, but little else is known about the appointee and what impact the move might have on LCM’s workwith same-sex attracted people.

Founder of ex-gay monitoring organisation Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International Anthony Venn- Brown told the Star Observer it was unlikely Starr’s appointment will see LCM shift its position away from its belief that homosexuality was the result of dysfunctional upbringing and sexual abuse, and that it could be changed.

Starr’s appointment also follows a period of decline for LCM under previous pastoral worker Hadyn Sennitt.

“Whilst I am glad to see these organisations decline, my concerns remain the same. The damage caused by these organisations which create and reinforce a sense of condemnation and self loathing can be devastating,” Venn-Brown said.

“From my experience working with former attendees the common impacts are mental health issues, depression, thoughts of suicide. For many these can remain for years afterwards.”

Venn-Brown said last year’s closure of major US ex-gay program Exodus International has put organisations like LCM on the fringe.

The LCM has been contacted for comment.

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