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Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, Conservative Christianity and Resistance to Sexual Justice

Clucas, Rob



In this article, I situate the practice of sexual orientation conversion efforts (SOCE), sometimes known as conversion or reparative therapy, within historical, cultural, religious and political attitudes to non-heterosexuality. Using documentary analysis, I investigate the contemporary resistance of two socially conservative organizations: National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) (US) and Core Issues Trust (UK), to legal and professional regulation of the sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) which they advocate. A number of themes emerged from the various documentation. The most convincing of these themes is a claim that to provide SOCE is to respect client’s autonomy rights to diminish unwanted sexual attraction, and to live in accordance with the moral principles that they value. I demonstrate that neither NARTH nor Core Issues Trust are consistent in their regard for client autonomy. I suggest that the most plausible reason for these organizations’ emphasis on autonomy and other secular tropes, such as scientific proof and progressive language, is that they provide a smokescreen for conservative Christian values. If we value a world of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) rights and recognition, we must counter this backlash against sexual and social justice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 18, 2017
Online Publication Date May 27, 2017
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 1, 2022
Journal Social Sciences
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Article Number 54
Keywords sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE); conversion therapy; homosexuality; LGBT; autonomy; science; Christianity; NARTH; Core Issues Trust; Pickup v Brown
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