Today and tomorrow, Core Issues Trust will be hosting a conference at Orangefield Presbyterian Church entitled The Lepers Among Us - Homosexuality and the Church.
We the undersigned believe the use of the term 'lepers' in this context to be inflammatory, homophobic and harmful.
We are dedicated to equality of opportunity, oppose homophobia in all its forms and believe that homophobia has a serious impact on the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
We recognise non-heterosexual sexual orientations to be as valid a sexual orientation as heterosexuality and accept sexual orientation to be assigned from birth and something that cannot be changed.
We condemn Core Issues Trust for organising the conference and believe their - and all - practice of reparative/conversion therapy to be inappropriate and potentially harmful.
In December 1998, the American Psychiatric Association rejected reparative therapy as ineffective and potentially destructive.
Their board of trustees unanimously adopted a position statement opposing reparative therapy.
The UK Council for Psychotherapy adopted a statement on reparative therapy which states 'UKCP does not consider homosexuality, or bisexuality, or transsexual and transgendered states to be pathologies, mental disorders or indicative of developmental arrest.
'These are not symptoms to be treated by psychotherapists, in the sense of attempting to change or remove them.'
We call on all like-minded people and organisations to speak out against this conference and to continue to work towards a society where all people are treated as equals, regardless of their race, age, gender, religious belief, political opinion, disability status, economic status, or sexual orientation.
Cookstown and Western Shores Area Network
Falls Women's Centre
East Belfast Community Development Association
East Belfast Survivors Of Suicide Support Group
East Belfast Community Counselling
Compass Advocacy Network
Dunlewey Substance Advice Centre NI
Institute for Conflict Research
Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland
Dublin Aids Alliance
Causeway Rural and Urban Network
Unison LGBT Committee
Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities
Newry Rainbow Community
Strabane & Lifford LGBT Group